It’s hard to stand up to bullies, but three young Richmond girls make it seem easy.
The trio of elementary students recently received the Fearless Girl Award for demonstrating moral courage and community spirit.
Anderson elementary’s Isabelle Lissack, Grade 6, stood up for younger classmates being teased by other students and refused to succumb to peer pressure.
She also participates in the school’s student council and carries out crossing guard duty, as well as recently completed the Canadian Red Cross’ stay safe course.
Isabelle told the Richmond News it felt “amazing” to win.
“I just want to be kind to all my friends and help them. I just want to be a good person,” she said.
Another winner, DeBeck elementary’s Mikaela Preysler, Grade 4, advocates for others to do the right thing and makes sure her classmates don’t feel left out.
While Whiteside elementary’s Kyah Gale-Neal, Grade 7, is kind to both her peers and adults and has taken on many leadership roles including lunch monitor, morning announcements and helping out at assemblies.
All three played an important part in helping their peers feel safe and included, according to the award organizers - Grade 11 and 12 students at Hugh Boyd’s social justice class.
Video by Clarence Palome and Peter Loganathan, Grade 12:
The Hugh Boyd students created the awards to celebrate young girls for doing the right thing and encourage them to keep doing the same. It was named after Kristen Visbal’s Fearless Girl sculpture.
“Often, women and girls are undermined for their actions so by rewarding them it makes them feel recognized,” said Jasmine Dulay, a Grade 11 student who was part of the selection committee.
“I saw this first-hand when delivering the award to (Isabelle), the smile on her face when she heard the news was unmatched.”
The recipients of the award were selected by the social justice class’ selection committee from dozens of nominations from students, parents and teachers.
“My students kind of felt like it was almost like a college admission… Like it was kind of cool for them, but they felt the weight of those decisions, too,” said teacher Michael Taylor.
He added that the experience was “really rewarding” for his students as well.
“They got to get a sense for the kids that they were reading about, and they sort of started to feel kind of connected to them,” said Taylor.
“So when they dropped off the awards, their spirits were lifted too.”
Last week, the three winners got a trophy, a certificate and $100 for a pizza party lunch with their classmates.
The initiative, just like the Blue Monday flower flashmob, is a part of the class’ Lift Project that aims to recognize members of the community who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.