The Fifth Annual Anti-Bullying Rally, sponsored by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, was held last weekend, drawing over 225 people.
“It was the biggest and best one we have ever had,” said Olivia Laborn, administrative assistant for the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office.
During Saturday’s event, children ages 8-15 gathered for a variety of fun activities and educational lessons on the devastating effects of bullying.
“By all accounts it was the best one yet,” said Whitney Robinson, with the Sheriff’s Office.
“We definitely had the most participation this year. It’s a chance for all the kids to come together without any kind of pressure. We stress unity. We want to bring the community together and make sure that everyone knows that bullying is just not right. We are trying to give the students a chance to come together in a stress-free environment where they can be themselves and become friends.”
According to Laborn, the annual event is only made possible by the generosity of the local community.
“Without the community support, we would not be able to do this,” said Laborn, who noted all of the prizes, food, and supplies for the anti-bullying rally are donated to the Sheriff’s Office.
“We have businesses and individuals supporting us every year,” said Laborn. “This year we had 37 cakes donated, mostly from individuals, so we could do an incredible cake walk for the kids.”
During Saturday’s event, kids participated in numerous activities, including a basketball game, a talent show, and various games with prizes awarded.
Organizers even rolled out a royal red carpet for kids to have their pictures taken. Nick Lewan, a Morgan County High School Student, served as the event’s DJ.
Speakers included Alicia Lord, director of public transportation for Morgan County School System, retired educator and Emeritus Pastor Alfred Murray, and Emeritus Pastor W. J. Reid.
Deputy Louis Smith served as the announcer for the event.
A special prayer circle was held to honor the memory of two former school officials who passed away: Freddie Bernard Walker Ivery, former bus driver and pastor, and Molly Bonner, a former Morgan County Elementary teacher.
Laborn sent a special thanks to the Morgan County Minister Union, a group that has supported the event for five consecutive years.
“Our community made this all possible,” said Laborn. “And it all worked out so well. These kids did not want to go home at the end of the rally.”