Bulldog Project prepares North 8th graders for high school
by Glenn Moore
May 09, 2014 | 1964 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bulldog Project presentation
Tracy High School junior Jenna Wesely talks to a group of eighth-graders during a presentation by the Bulldog Project on Wednesday at North School.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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As her last days of elementary school wind down, North School eighth grade student T’yonnie Fitzgerald said she has been nervous thinking about what lies ahead at Tracy High School next year. T’yonnie was one of about 100 North School eighth grade students who listened to a presentation by Tracy High’s Bulldog Project to help the soon to be freshman know what to expect at high school and be safe.

“I thought it was cool because we can make a difference and I don’t have to worry about getting bullied,” T’yonnie said. She admitted she was nervous about what high school would be like but she said she felt more confident after the presentation. “To know that there is people who really care and make sure we won’t get bullied.”

The Bulldog Project is club of about 50 students of all grade levels that began this school year at Tracy High who help promote campus safety. A key element is Students Speaking Out, an anonymous tip line for students when they know of a threat or dangerous situation on campus.

The Bulldog Project brought about a dozen members to North School for the first time to perform skits with an anti-bullying message. Principal Frederick Medina was happy that the high school students were able to speak to his classes.

“Anytime you can give students a boost or prep them from going to grade school to high school is beneficial,” Medina said. “Kids relate to other kids, they will provide them a wealth of information on what to expect in high school.”

Bulldog Project member Jenna Wesely, a junior, said she remembers her freshman year and the support she received from upperclassmen and hoped to return it to the eighth graders.

“Just showing them you can be involved so many ways because when you are involved in things it makes high school so much better,” Wesely said. “It encourages the freshman to be the difference, in sports or leadership, that one person who stands up and makes a difference in whatever you do.”

Tracy High senior Devin Foster said he could relate to the fears that some of the eighth students may be going through. Foster said he was the only student from Monte Vista School when he entered in Tracy High and felt alone without his friends. Foster hoped talking to the eighth grade students would how them the opportunities and choices they can make.

“I think that freshman year going in you are more scared, you don’t know what to do when you get bullied,” Foster said. “You don’t have the experience of being in high school – when they get to high school they won’t be that scared,” Foster said.

Key to Bulldog Project is the partnership with Tracy Crime Stoppers Inc. Board president Marshall Rose explained the anonymous tip lines to the students and urged them to use it to report bullying or crimes.

“This is our sixth presentation and after each presentation Crime Stoppers has gotten tips from students like you who are concerned about things going on in their area,” Rose said. “Whether it’s cyber bullying, someone in a fight, someone with drugs or has a weapon be responsible, you have friends sitting next to you.”

Tracy High School alumnus and current city councilman Robert Rickman told the eighth grade students to be leaders in the school and community and take a stand against bullying, reporting it whenever they see it.

“Were all here with the Bulldog Project because we recognize bullying is a problem and we want it to stop in our school and we can’t do it by ourselves, we need your help,” Rickman said. “I know everyone here can make a difference.”

• Contact Glenn Moore at gmoore@tracypress.com or 830-4252.

 

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