Sherman High School career and technology teacher Symantha Murray said around 600 students from Sherman High School participated in the school’s third annual "3D" program this week to raise awareness about "bullying and making good choices."

Sherman High School career and technology teacher Symantha Murray said around 600 students from Sherman High School participated in the school’s third annual "3D" program this week to raise awareness about "bullying and making good choices."


Murray said the experience uses icebreakers, videos and group counseling to raise awareness about the consequences of bullying in the community and how good choices impact students’ futures. This year, Murray and her team of student volunteers from the SHS chapter of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America took the event outside the district for the first time, traveling to S&S High School with the event.


Murray said the FCCLA students spent "nine months working diligently" with a community leader to realize the project three years ago. The funding for the event is raised entirely by students and the SHS Teen Board of Directors.


The legwork involved in organizing the event can also be a career learning opportunity for the student leaders. Murray said, "One student said to me, ‘I can’t believe how much work this has taken!’ It’s 10 weeks of hard work and they learn a lot about organization, community service, fundraising and presentation."


The event’s three D’s are "decide, define and deliver," and the message to students focuses on making wise choices in their public and personal lives. Murray said the focused has shifted slightly this year to emphasize the importance of bullying awareness and making good choices about social media and texting.


"We talk about bullying, define what it is; we define all different types of bullying including cyberbullying, what that looks like, and we also talk about the legal consequences of things like bullying," Murray said.


Murray said this year’s event had an added emphasis on the potential pitfalls of sending sexually explicit text messages and endorsing questionable behavior on social media. "We try to emphasize to the students that, what’s fun today, may not always be fun tomorrow," Murray said. "Your choices today may affect you in the future, and it may not be so fun when you’re trying to get that job or trying to get into that good school."


The event brings together adult leaders in the community with student leaders who previously graduated from the anti-bullying course. The leaders are grouped into "family" units, where, Murray says, participants often feel more comfortable sharing their experiences with bullying and getting support from the SHS community.


The family units participate in group games and talk sessions that evoke empathy and awareness, one of the SHS students on the Teen Board of Directors said. "It just makes you aware of what someone else might be going through, (and) why you shouldn’t put that person down because they’re different," the teenage trustee said. "They might be going through something really hard."