Students at the Young at Arts dance academy in Langley City demonstrate some of the moves from a video, that won a $5,000 prize they donated to the Amanda Todd Legacy Society. From left: Lauren Briggs, Erin Bergeron, Alexa Usher, Christina Lep andMolly Horton. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

VIDEO: Langley students dance for suicide prevention takes top prize

Brookswood Secondary Youth and Philanthropy Initiative winners donate $5K to Amanda Todd society

When Brookswood Secondary students Erin Bergeron, Alexa Usher and Angelo Manca won the $5,000 Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) project, the charity they were competing for was the Amanda Todd Legacy Society, named after a Maple Ridge teenager who took her own life as a result of cyber-bullying.

Their winning presentation, which focused on mental health and suicide prevention, featured a video to honour the memory of Melaina Paisley, a close friend who committed suicide last year.

It was an emotional, dramatic performance choreographed by Bergeron and Usher, performed with the aid of several friends and edited by Manca.

The two students used to take dance classes with Paisley.

“Their family was close to all our families,” Bergeron said.

“We knew for our project, we wanted to revolve it around suicide prevention,” Usher said.

On Sunday, Bergeron and Usher presented a $5,000 cheque to Carol Todd, Amanda’s mother at the Young at Arts dance academy in Langley City.

Todd said she only learned about the grant a few days before the cheque presentation.

It was a surprise,” Todd said.

“It’s just amazing to see young people have these initiatives.”

Todd told the students they were role models for “everyone younger than you.”

“They are looking up to you, to what you do, to how you use social media,” she said.

Academy owner Meghann Turnbull, called Bergeron and Usher “the dynamic duo” who planned and executed the video on their own.

“I’m so proud of them,” Turnbull said.

The Sunday event also hosted a fundraising event “Dance for a Cause, ” that raised $626 for the Melaina Paisley arts scholarship fund.

As part of the YPI event, grade 10 Brookswood students give presentations highlighting a local charity to try to win a $5,000 grant for their chosen organization.

After two months of research, groups make multimedia presentations to a panel of judges.

District Superintendent Gord Stewart, one of the judges, said the contest falls in line with the district’s values of integrity, excellence, courage, and community.

“We’re hoping that beyond making sure students are numerate and literate, they’re going to be good citizens when they graduate,” Stewart said.

“Part of that is always giving the opportunities and encouraging them to give back to the community.”

Amanda Todd drew global attention to cyberbullying when she posted a YouTube video recounting her ordeal. She later took her own life in October 2012 when she was 15.

Todd used to go to school in Maple Ridge.

When she was in Grade 7, she was convinced by a stranger online to pose topless on a friend’s webcam.

READ MORE: More court before Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd case is extradited here

That stranger used Todd’s image to blackmail her into providing him with more child pornography, threatening to send the nude photo to her friends and family unless she sent him more photos of herself.

When she didn’t comply, he made good on his promise.

Taunted by classmates at Westview secondary, Todd eventually moved to Maple Ridge secondary.

Todd and a male student at the school began a short-lived romantic relationship. When the boy’s girlfriend found out, the girlfriend and her friends bullied and taunted Amanda, eventually beating her up.

Midway through the school year, she transferred to Coquitlam Alternative Basic Education, in Coquitlam. But the cyber bullying by her peers in Maple Ridge continued.

Todd described how her life fell apart in a video she posted to YouTube, a month before she took her own life.

Holding up hand-written placards, she recounted the events that would eventually lead to her own death.

The Amanda Todd Legacy Society is a non-profit society that focuses on awareness and the well-being of individuals with respect to prevention and awareness relating to bullying, cyber abuse and internet safety, as encouraging mental wellness and healthy living.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Carol Todd and daughter Amanda. Black Press Media file photo

Erin Bergeron and Alexa Usher present a cheque to Carol Todd on behalf of the Amanda Todd Legacy Society. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

Just Posted

LETTER: Former councillor opposes four-storey Aldergrove parkade

Charlie Fox suggests parking issues in the downtown core can be solved in other ways

Hundreds attend celebration of life for Debbie Froese in Langley

A businesswoman, volunteer, and wife of Mayor Jack Froese, she passed away on Jan. 9

VIDEO: Report of gun draws big RCMP response to Langley mall

At least one man was taken into custody and replica handgun was located

Langley politicians look forward to arrival of Uber, Lyft

A regional ridesharing license template is expected by the end of the month

Township council to deliberate Aldergrove Town Centre plans

Janda Group’s redevelopment proposal will be voted on during Monday evening meeting

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

5 things you need to know to start using ridesharing in Metro Vancouver

From how to get started to where drivers can take you, heres all you need to know

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Most Read