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How I Changed for the Better

In: Social Issues

Submitted By shandee
Words 801
Pages 4
How I Changed for the Better

This is going to be a waste of time, I thought as I descended the gray stairs to the gym. My friends surrounded me, filling the air with jokes and laughter. We were headed to the gymnasium for a bullying seminar that would last two periods. 150 minutes. I am not one to question missing class for a school-organized event, but today I would be missing study hall. Unfinished homework hung over me like an unstable roof about to collapse. I had a biology test and a few ignored assignments from last night, and the good student inside me ached when I heard I would miss that free period.

But it wasn't just the urgency of unfinished school work that made me reluctant to attend this assembly; the topic made me uneasy too. We were all a little on edge when we heard from our parents that some serious subjects would be discussed today, things that weren't discussed openly in teenagers' lives, things that rarely crossed our minds. A speaker was going to tell us the story of his son who committed suicide after being bullied. His name was John Halligan.

I sat near the front with my friends. Mr. Halligan began by introducing us to his son, Ryan, showing us a slide show with photos of a dark-haired boy as a toddler, a child, and then a teen. We watched as he slowly transformed from a happy kid to a slightly awkward teenager. He had a strange smile – like a mask that hid his pain. Mr. Halligan began telling us about his family, mostly his son. He told us of Ryan's early developmental problems, the bullying due to his slow learning, and his advice to his son.

Mr. Halligan's voice varied, but was always filled with emotion. First it was full of affection as he spoke of Ryan as a child, then pain as he described Ryan's bullying and suicide, and then anger as he described the boy who bullied his son. He told us that Ryan had stood up to the bully, and the...

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