What started out as a classroom project will now end up getting your attention as your drive around Sioux Falls.
The original project was to make posters with an anti-bullying message. Well, two of those school-made posters are now billboards. We spent some time with one of the young artists who is trying to make a change.
Sioux Falls' Patrick Henry Middle School; where the concept of not being a bully is so much a part of the school culture, there are posters up in the hallways warning kids not to do it. "You're either part of the problem or part of the solution. And we're really empowering kids to be part of the solution." Alex Dobbs is a school counselor at Patrick Henry... and part of empowering kids means allowing their voices to be heard...and letting students know...they're all important. "I think that everyone can make a difference."
So Dobbs headed up a project where students were supposed to draw a poster, reminding people that bullying is not a good thing. 8th grader Soffiya Poberezhnik came up with her poster...in a typical 8th grade way. "My sister helped me come up with it. I usually do my homework last minute...as usual." But her poster with it's simple phrase....Stop Bullying...was eye catching enough to be one of the finalists in a special contest where the top two winners would be featured on billboards paid for by the Patrick Henry PTA. Soffiya's is up as is the other one featuring the phrase "The End of Bullying Begins With You". For Soffiya, having her work displayed like this helps spread a message she really cares about. "It doesn't get anywhere when you bully. It's a two way street. Whatever you do it's going to come back to you."
The two anti-bullying billboards can be seen at 41st and Minnesota and out on 10th Street near Shop Ko.