ROYERSFORD -- Spring-Ford Intermediate School students left the Sept. 11th bullying prevention rally inspired to fill one another's "emotional buckets" with kindness and respect, rather than taking from those buckets with bully-like behavior this coming school year.

The theme for this year's rally centered around author Carol McCloud's book, "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" The book was read in each classroom the week before the rally, and teaches children that each person has a bucket of emotions from which other people can either contribute to or take from. A bucket-filler is someone who does nice things for others, while a bucket-dipper is someone who drains that emotional reserve by making people feel bad.

Each homeroom participated in a poster contest based on the bucket-filling theme, and prizes were awarded to those with the best slogan, most colorful and most creative posters. In addition to the poster contest, students were invited to participate in a logo contest. Winners will see their logos appear in the school's student directory and yearbook. Those winners included fifth-grader Gina Spadea and sixth-grader Patrick Pascual.

In the week leading up to the rally, students also engaged in discussions about what bullying looks, sounds, and feels like, and signed a document declaring independence from bullying.

The rally brought all of these themes together. Spring-Ford High School cheerleaders and Rowdy the Ram helped generate school spirit among the crowd, and students recited anti-bullying and Rowdy Ram rules together. Staff members got involved by contributing paper heart or stars to a bucket on the floor and complimenting each other as a way to model "bucket-filling" behaviors to students.

"It is important to begin each year with these lessons, so that students know what is expected of them and the ways in which they can contribute to bullying prevention," said Assistant Principal Dr. Dennis Booher. ?This assembly really makes an impression on young people and teaches them the value of positive behavior.?

This is the sixth year of the school's anti-bullying program, and it has been very successful at reducing the number of bullying-related incidents over those years. The program will continue throughout the year. Students will attend assemblies and be provided with tips and advice on what to do if they find that they themselves are bullies, if they see someone else being bullied or if they are the target of bullying. Students are taught that there is no single solution to the problem of bullying, and are provided with a "menu" of tips from which they can act.

Spring-Ford Intermediate School is located at 833 S. Lewis Road in Royersford.

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