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Cast from Family Channel show visit North Van elementary school
Hundreds of Sherwood Park elementary students cheered as the cast of Family Channel’s The Next Step made a surprise appearance at a Monday morning assembly.
The North Van school was one of three chosen from across Canada after sixth grader Jolene Verdicchio’s entry on the effects of bullying won a nation-wide contest, which had nearly 2,000 entries.
“[Jolene] wrote about her experience of bullying because she had been bullied in the past. But she moved to this school and has had a much better experience,” said Trevor Tordjman, who plays James, an energetic dancer on The Next Step.
“She wrote about how she’s been talking about the effects of bullying at school and that the school is very aware of it.
“It was a touching story and Family Channel really liked it.”
This year’s rally, which marks Family Channel’s 11th annual Bullying Awareness Week, was given the slogan “Stand Up and Shout!” to encourage kids to intervene when they witness bullying.
Led by Tordjman and Brittany Raymond, a.k.a. Riley from The Next Step, Sherwood Park students eagerly learned the moves to the “Stand Up and Shout” dance, which will be used in a Family Channel music video that debuts in early November on family.ca/standup.
“I was a little worried about teaching them dance,” admitted Tordjman, who began dancing at the age of four in his mother’s dance studio. “But it actually went really good, they picked it up smoothly… They were totally into it.”
Representatives from PrevNet, an umbrella organization representing 73 research scientists and dozens of youth-service organizations that deal with bullying prevention, told the students it’s often easier to ask a friend for help when standing up to bullying. Walking away to tell an adult is part of the solution, they emphasized, while staying to watch only increases the problem.
“Stay confident in whatever it is that you love to do. In my case, I’ve always been a dancer and I stayed confident in that,” advises Tordjman. “Also, tell someone you trust [about bullying] and never be afraid to do that because there’s always someone who can help.”
During Bullying Awareness Week, starting Nov. 18, Family Channel is airing special bullying-themed episodes from popular series such as Good Luck Charlie, Wizards of Waverly Place and Wingin It.