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Port Washington's Unity Day

Port Washington field hockey team (Oct. 9, 2013)

Port Washington field hockey team (Oct. 9, 2013) (Credit: Stephen Haynes)

Athletes in orange high socks and the field hockey players with orange hair ribbons, and even orange programs were distributed at Port Washington on Wednesday.

Orange is not the Vikings’ usual team color.

But it was yesterday. Schreiber High School was among the seven institutes in the Port Washington district to participate in “Unity Day,” a nationwide campaign that seeks to raise awareness about bullying.

October is anti-bullying month and its representative color, of course, is orange.

“We all know someone who has been bullied or you’ve experienced it yourself,” senior forward Chelsea Nachamie said. “That's what teenage life is. But it’s something that’s unnecessary and we’d love to get rid of it.”

Nachamie said that even within her own team she has witnessed forms of bullying. "It was a seniority thing," she said, "but it's something we've worked on and, thankfully, there haven't been any issues recently."

Athletic director Stephanie Joannon said the district’s goal was to generate discussion about the issue and offer support to victims of bullying. Port Washington filmed a public service announcement, had faculty members address the topic and, with the help of its athletes, spread the word through the community.

“I think it's a problem throughout the country and no community is immune,” said Joannon, who is also co-chair of the district’s Safety and Substance Abuse Task Force. “Last year we brought in speakers and this year we wanted to do something that the whole district could join in. It brings everything to the forefront so the coaches, teachers, parents and kids can all talk about it.”

The district also distributed 6,000 orange wristbands with “Unite Against Bullying” inscribed and elementary school students made bookmarks with anti-bullying slogans.

“We took a stand against bullying,” sophomore forward Maddie Cohen said. “I think it was very important that we do something like this because it showed that we, as a team, are united for a good cause.”

Tags: Port Washington , Unity Day , anti-bullying , field hockey , Maddie Cohen , Chelsea Nachamie

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