Students at Central Coast New Tech High School in Nipomo opened up to each other at a “Dude. Be Nice” rally on Monday.
It’s “Dude. Be Nice” week at the school, an effort to bring awareness to bullying and help prevent it.
During Monday’s rally, the students participated in exercises that encouraged them to speak up and reveal their emotions. They drew masks on a card that represented both positive and negative feelings.
“It was totally okay to open up,” said sophomore Darius Jones. “I felt like I really haven’t opened up in a while. Most of the times I kind of just move on and kind of, I guess, keep my thoughts inside. So him just letting me open up with my advisories, some group that I trust, about what’s behind my mask is something I learned a lot about today.”
Monday’s guest speaker was Ashanti Branch, founder of the Ever Forward Club, an organization that encourages mentorship in education.
“It’s really easy to forget that other people are going through real stuff and we judge people based on what we see and we don’t give ourself enough credit for how hard the things we’re going through and we trying to pretend that we are not going through and so that’s the work. It is giving people that space to know that they are okay,” Branch said.
The Ever Forward Club has collected more than 30,000 masks from students all over the world. The goal is to engage 100,000 people in self-reflection.
To learn more about the Ever Forward Club, click here.
To learn more about Dude. Be Nice, click here.