BRIDGEWATER, NJ – As part of the annual Week of Respect (Oct. 6 to Oct. 10) and in accordance with the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act (P.L.2010, c.122), the Pupil Services and Linkages Departments at Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School implemented daily events for students to recognize the importance of character education through preventing harassment, intimidation and bullying in their school community.

Over the course of the week, SCVTHS students were able to sign a pledge of respect, given “Hero” dog tags, “Respect” bracelets and created new designs for the ever-expanding Wall of Peace. In addition, students in Photography classes took park in activities by creating black and white anti-HIB (harassment, intimidation, and bullying) posters for the Week of Respect. Once the posters were approved, the artwork was then put on display throughout the school’s buildings, hallways and cafeteria for all of SCVTHS to view.

Further enforcing the Week or Respect, SCVTHS welcomed former Philadelphia Eagle Vince Papale, who was the inspiration for the movie Invincible. Mr. Papale, now a resident of Cherry Hill, overcame all odds to earn a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles when he was 30 years old, while only having played one year of high school football. Papale spoke of being bullied throughout his life from a child in grade school and even on the football field as an adult. Papale encouraged students to “treat others and yourself with respect,” and to take action against bullying, “Don’t be bystanders.  Get off the sidelines and into the game.”

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As Papale epitomizes how you may achieve your dreams through hard work and dedication, he inspired the students with themes of how “being successful is cool” and to “act on your dreams.”  Papale also spoke of his own personal heroes and how they have inspired him with their courage, persistence and tenacity. As the presentation drew to an end, Papale told the students to believe in themselves and not give up on their dreams. Papale closed with the Langston Hughes poem Dreams:

"Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow."

For more information, please contact James Strickhart at 908-526-8900, ext. 7169, or jstrickhart@scvts.net.