More than 120 schools help 'Spread the Word'

posted Thu, Mar 3, 2016 by Jon Buzby

Christiana High's Sharon Ndi adds her signature to the banner during lunch.

William Penn senior Dominique Spencer watches Brandon Dooley sign the banner. Spencer and Dooley, an All-State three-sport athlete, coached Penn's Unified flag football team.

Special Olympics athletes, from left, Julia Hensley, Kayla Burke and Roger Johnson were on stage for the assembly at Appoquinimink High School.

The faculty and staff at the Christina Early Education Center show their support of the annual Spread the Word to End the Word campaign.

The 8th annual Spread the Word to End the Word campaign reached new heights on March 2 when more than 120 schools across all levels participated in the event by donning T-shirts, signing banners and organizing assemblies and other activities.

"It's amazing how this event just continues to catch fire and grow each year," organizer Kyle Frazer said of the 40 new schools which participated in 2016. "And it's fun to watch how schools come up with new activities to keep it fresh. It really is a day to celebrate respect for everyone."

Lime-green was the color of the day in classrooms and hallways as staff and students purchased and donned more than 10,000 T-shirts to show their pledge for respect in what has become a tradition on the first Wednesday each March.

"It's a day to pause and think about how words and actions affect communities," said Tina King, who organized a school-wide assembly at Appoquinimink High School.

At Christiana High School, several students from the school's Honors Academy organized a banner signing during the lunch periods when students not only put their signature on the banner but, as they did, were reminded of what it represented.

"I want to help make students realize that they shouldn't make people feel like they are different," Christiana freshman Dizara Miller explained as she passed out pens to classmates.

William Penn High School had a banner signing in both of its cafeterias, spearheaded by senior Dominique Spencer, who serves as president of the school's Project Unify club. Spencer has been pivotal in the school's involvement in high school Unified Flag Football and Track and Field among other inclusive activities.

"I feel like I'm helping give the Special Olympics athletes hope, rather than doubt," she explained of her efforts promoting inclusion at the school. "At the end of the day I want there to be something for them to be part of."

Although the campaign was started for people to make a pledge by signing a banner, it has blossomed into so much more.  And not just in Delaware, but across the country.

"It's a day to celebrate unity," King said, smiling.