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Students at Our Lady Queen of Heaven dressed as their favorite characters from ''The Wizard of Oz'' on Wednesday. (Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)

Students at Our Lady Queen of Heaven dressed as their favorite characters from ''The Wizard of Oz'' on Wednesday. (Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)

Queen of Heaven students have 'Wicked' good time (with video)

Last Modified: Friday, September 28, 2012 12:56 PM

By Ashley Withers / American Press

Students dressed as cowardly lions, scarecrows and witches filled the bleachers at Our Lady Queen of Heaven School on Wednesday as they participated in an anti-bullying pep rally with “Wicked” cast member Ryan Jackson.

Jackson went to OLQH as a part of the grand prize won by the Students with Anti-Bullying Goals club last school year.

The SWAG club entered a lip-dub video in the National School Climate Center’s BullyBust Campaign video contest, and won both a $500 grant and a special visit from a cast member of Broadway’s “Wicked.”

Jackson plays the role of a flying monkey named Chistery in the musical and was excited about the show’s partnership with BullyBust.

“BullyBust is perfect because the show is about not judging a book by its cover and the underlying friendship between two women who we know from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ to be enemies,” Jackson said.

“It’s really just about getting kids and students and teachers and everyone just aware that bullying is an epidemic. We should be aware of it, not just to know it’s happening, but to be upstanders and stand up for others.”

As an extra treat, students were allowed to dress up as characters from “Wicked” and “The Wizard of Oz” for the day’s festivities.

Jackson said he was impressed by the students’ costumes.

“They’re amazing! The kids are wonderfully talented and creative,” he said.

Bryce Reed, a sixth-grader, dressed as the tin man for the assemblies. “We put a lot of duct tape into this costume,” he said. “It’s really hot.”

Reed said that “seeing the flying monkey” was his favorite part of the day and that he “learned a lot.”

“Life can be really hard, but you just got to make your way through it and never back down.”

Fifth-grader Gabriell Little said the day’s events were “really cool,” especially because she got to meet Jackson.

“I learned that he puts a lot of work into his plays and he’s a really cool person,” she said. “I also learned that you shouldn’t bully other people, and you should treat others like you want to be treated.”

Little dressed as the cowardly lion for the day. Her elaborate costume took her and her mother several days to complete. “It took a lot of hot glue,” Little said.

Jackson spoke to the students about what they can do to stop bullying.

“Sometimes we see others being bullied and we think, ‘Oh nobody is going to listen to me,’ but you’re important. Just one kind word can make someone’s day. We’re just trying to get the word out to be an upstander,” Jackson said.

“It’s about trying to be better and to be an example for others.”

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