CLARKS SUMMIT — Third and fourth-grade students at Newton-Ransom Elementary School took a break from their classroom instruction on Oct. 15 for a presentation from a member of a world famous basketball team.
While Harlem Globetrotters’ star Chris “Handles” Franklin’s visit provided plenty of fun and laughter, it also focused on the serious issue of bullying.
Franklin discussed the “ABCs of Bullying Prevention” while dazzling the children and teachers with an array of dribbling skills and tricks.
“It’s important for you to listen to your parents, teachers and principals,” he said. “You should stay in school and get an education. You should also believe in your dreams. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something or you can’t be somebody. If you work hard enough, you can do anything you want to in life.”
The Harrisburg native shared a personal example of reaching a goal he set at a young age.
“When I was 6 years old, I saw the Harlem Globetrotters on the cartoon ‘Scooby-Doo’ and said that’s what I want to do in life,” Franklin said. “People said it’s too difficult, but I dribbled a basketball everywhere and now I’m in my ninth season with the Harlem Globetrotters, dribbling a basketball for a living.”
The interactive assembly touched on action, bravery and compassion — the three ABCs of bullying.
“If you see someone being bullied or if you are being bullied, we want you to take action by telling an adult,” Franklin said. “You have to be brave enough to tell an adult and brave enough not to laugh when someone is being teased. You should also stand up for kids who can’t stand up for themselves.”
Franklin stressed the importance of making others feel welcome and loved.
“It shows you care about them,” he said. “If you see a person that doesn’t have a lot of friends, be their friend. Be compassionate, be caring and be kind.”
The program was designed in coordination with the National Campaign to Stop Violence.
“It’s so important for kids to learn the importance of being kind and and caring to others,” said Newton-Ransom Elementary School Principal Amy Williams. “He showed our kids it’s not just important here at school and in our community, but everywhere they go.”
Williams believes Franklin’s message resonated with the students.
“Look at the excitement on all of their faces,” she said. “All of the kids wanted to shake his hand; they were involved in the assembly so they are more likely to take it to heart and use it in their lives. He told them they can succeed in life and make their dreams come true. As a role model, it leaves a lasting impact with them.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.