It pays to have friends in “high” places!
Last year, Brody Ridder of Westminster, Colorado changed schools because he was being bullied. Sadly, the problem didn’t go away at his new school, The Academy of Charter Schools. When the school yearbook came out at the end of his sixth grade year, no one in his class wanted to sign his book.
Brody says he approached several classmates to ask them to sign, but they declined. The few who did sign only scrawled their name with no personal note for Brody. Aside from a couple of teacher’s notes, his pages were completely blank.
Dejected, Brody sat down and wrote in the book himself.
“Hope you make some more friends. — Brody Ridder,” he wrote.
Mom Cassandra Ridder was crushed when she read the note and heard how cruelly he’d been treated. She took a picture of the note and shared it on a community Facebook page for parents of students at Brody’s school. She had no idea she’d spark discussions all over town!
Parents were so sad to read Brody’s note to himself that they encouraged their children to reach out to the boy the next day. Rising senior Simone Lightfoot was one of the teenagers who heard the sixth grader’s story, and she understood his predicament.
“It’s so fun having everyone sign your yearbook and for this kid to only have people sign their names in his yearbook, it’s just soul crushing,” Simone said.
She and other high school students spent hours talking about Brody, formulating a plan to help lift his spirits and make him feel less alone.
“We all just started planning that the next day we were going to go sign this kid’s yearbook,” said Logan South.
The next day, they did just that.
A big group of teenagers strode into Brody’s classroom the next day and announced they were there to sign his yearbook. They filled the pages with phone numbers, words of encouragement, and offers of friendship. Brody’s yearbook collected more than 100 signatures.
Not surprisingly, when Brody’s classmates saw the cool upper classmen signing his yearbook, they wanted to sign it too! Brody says he doesn’t think their signatures mean they’ll be friends with him next year, but he is encouraged that they finally deemed him worthy enough to acknowledge him.
“It just made me feel better as a person,” he said. “I don’t know how to explain it. It just makes me feel better on the inside.”
Brody’s mom says she was “overwhelmed” by the community support, and feels encouraged by these teens’ actions.
“It made me feel like there’s hope for the school, there’s hope for humanity and there’s a lot of good kids in this world,” she said.
We couldn’t agree more. Great job, teens!
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