On Monday, March 27, founder of Sister Soldier, Patricia Ottaviano came to Academy and spoke to the student body about standing up for each other and girls supporting each other. Ottaviano founded the nonprofit after being a victim of bullying in middle school. History teacher, Lori Kearney, taught Ottaviano at her old school in New York and decided Ottaviano’s message was important to be shared at an all girls school.
The nonprofit’s mission is “to alleviate the pain caused by the often mean and hurtful ways that girls treat on another and treat themselves. Our goal is to empower girls with kindness, self-love and acceptance, ultimately changing the way they view themselves and view each other.”
Ottaviano shared a powerpoint that taught the girls about the importance of handling friendship disputes with kindness and to not bring the other girls down. She also shared three bad habits girls need to break to reduce bullying and unnecessary fighting. The three bad habits are:
Fear of speaking face-to-face
Getting other people involved
Expect our friends to be mind readers
Ottaviano also brought a poster pledge in for the girls to sign. The pledge said, “We pledge to have each other’s back.”
She gave the students a compliment card, an apology card, and a pledge card. Both the compliment and the apology card were meant to be given to another student who you wish to compliment or wish for their forgiveness. The purpose of the pledge card was to make a choice to promote kindness during this month, Bully Prevention Month.
Lizzie Dolan said, “I would say it was definitely things we heard before and was pretty much boring, but really at the end of the day, it worked. Maybe the topic wasn’t super interesting, but I’ve heard three amazing stories of people apologizing for the way they’ve treated other people horribly in the past. Surprised it worked? Yeah I am. But happy we had it? Yes. I actually saw a lot of change. It was nice.”
The Class of 2019 took her message about creating a compliment page on social media to alleviate the negativity to heart by making their own compliment page on Instagram. The page posts a picture of a different girl in the grade every day and other girls compliment her in the comments.
Ottaviano wanted the main take-away from the program to be that the things that are happening in our lives now do affect our lives later.