Recently, two Mt. Hope High School students stood up in front of 4,000 of their peers in an effort to stop bullying. Turell Boyd, a Mt. Hope senior, and Cody Thomas, a sophomore, wrote music and lyrics with an anti-bullying message that they recently performed at a New England-wide anti-bullying symposium. The two, along with another 20 Mt. Hope students, joined thousands of high school and middle school students from around New England for a day-long symposium to end bullying.
Although Cody said he’s never experienced bullying to the extent that would drive someone to take their own life, he did say that even taunts and teasing – forms of bullying – can have a negative impact.
“I know what it feels like,” Cody said. “I see what goes on. Things are happening that probably shouldn’t. It needs to stop,” he said.
Included in their lyrics is a reference to a girl named Amanda Todd. Although they’ve never met her, they were moved by her tragic story. In October 2012, the 15 year-old girl from British Columbia posted a video on the Internet that explained how she was bullied emotionally and physically. After posting the video, Amanda committed suicide only weeks before she would turn 16.
Cody, a sophomore, wrote the lyrics and Turell, a senior, put them to music.
“(Turell) actually made the beat himself,” Cody said. “I call the song, ‘Inspiration.’”
For 2 minutes, 45 seconds, the two recite their rhyme that speaks out against bullying, a message that they carry in their daily interactions within the Anti-bullying Resolution Coalition that students. ARC, as it is known, is a component of the YES program offered at Mt. Hope, where students gather and peaceful conflict resolution is promoted.
“When I read about (the competition) I knew right away these two should go for it,” said Colleen Powers, who works with the students in ARC.
Ms. Powers submitted a recording of the students’ song and later learned that they were among the top three finalists. The duo is prepared for their debut, but not without some healthy jitters.
“I don’t usually do this,” Turell said of performing on stage.
Cody, who sings over Turell’s beat, said the pair will continue to rehearse right up until show time.
“Turell made a great beat,” Cody said. “Listening to your own voice, I think you hear flaws that other people won’t hear.”
While attending the event, students discussed bullying and exchange ideas and develop an action plan for implementation. The ideas generated there will be taken back to the Bristol Warren school system.
Excerpt from the song “Inspiration” by Turell Boyd and Cody Thomas
“Now the time has come for people to realize
that bullying is no joke and it is a serious crime …
Look at me, man, I am getting picked on every day.
I know it’s sad; no kid should ever have to live that way …
You think they’re losers but they’re stronger than you,
you would never experience the pain that you put them through …
Not only is it physical, it’s words that you say that hurt them so much,
they pack their stuff and run away …
There’s no need to kill yourself … rest in peace to Amanda Todd.”