BULLYBUST and WICKED congratulate the winners of the “Defying Gravity” Essay Contest!

The “Defying Gravity” Essay contest took place in 2010, and hundreds of students from all across the country participated to share how they took a stand, and did not let bullying get them down. The inspiring finalists share their stories below. We are so impressed with all of the students who had the courage to write their messages of hope, and thank each and every one of you for being positive role models and upstanders in your communities.

Read their inspiring essays below and learn how you can become an upstander against bullying, too!

Congratulations to all students who participated in this contest. Each essay submission was excellent and unique in its very own way. We thank everyone—from the schools and educators to the parents and guardians—who supported the students and their efforts to make this contest a success. In the coming months, BullyBust will be highlighting many of the submissions we received, so please check back often to hear inspiring stories of how students took a stand against bullying.

Grand Prize Winner

Ammie is 14 and in 9th grade at La Crescent High School. Ammie was born 3 months early with cerebral palsy. She lives at home with her twin sister, brother, mom and Peanut the dog. Ammie enjoys camping, swimming, and reading. Her favorite color is pink. She also enjoys singing in the choir and Broadway musicals. Ammie dreams of becoming a Broadway critic someday.

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No matter what happens, though, we just need to stay strong. Things and people will come along who don't want us to fly, and we just have to block them out.
—Excerpt from winning essay

Finalist

Whitney is a 17-year-old junior at Meyersdale Area High School and lives with her parents and younger brother. Whitney is a straight A student who is actively involved in her school, church, and community. She plays the flute in her high school's marching and concert bands. She is also a member of the S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decisions) club and is a student tutor in the elementary school. Whitney highly enjoys teaching preschool and helping out in the nursery at her church. In her spare time, she loves babysitting, spending time with her family and best friends, shopping, and traveling to New York City. After graduation, Whitney hopes to major in Criminal Justice. Her dream is to one day be an NYPD police officer and detective.

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When I see someone being bullied, it hurts me, knowing that someone else is being hurt. I try to stand up for those being bullied, take their side, and let them know that I am there for them and I am their friend.
—Excerpt from essay

Finalist

My name is Sarina. My hobbies include reading, writing, soccer and swimming. I'm also working on a book that I would like to try and get published. It is titled: Dark Forest. I am in 5th grade, and get straight A's. I have received awards for Math and Reading Achievement, Honor Roll, reading and writing. I got 3rd place in my district for the Writing Celebration contest, and in 2009 I got 1st place for a writing contest at Barnes and Noble, which I won 4 Disneyland tickets.

My favorite book series are Warriors and my favorite animals are wolves, tigers and cats. My interests include space, the ocean and the Titanic. In my family there is my mom, dad, my brother and 2 doggies!

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Everyone deserves a chance to fly. Not only did I, but Camille did too. Bullying only leads to, well, nothing!
—Excerpt from essay

Finalist

My name is Natalie and I'm 13-years-old. I am interested in reading, writing, and science. My hobbies are Irish dance, ballet, drawing, photography, singing, acting, and running. I love going to school, the library, and hanging out with friends. I also really like spending time with my family. Someday, I hope to be a social studies teacher.

Winning this contest was a big achievement for me. When a person reads this biography, you should know you can always find help and there is always a way out. It is everyone's responsibility to prevent bullying. It may only take one person to bully but it also only takes one person to stop it. You should be that one to stop it. If you don't think you can handle it on your own, just ask a trusted adult for help.

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I know now what listening to your heart means and to not just go with what is cool but do what is right.
—Excerpt from essay