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

Elections BC has sent out almost 700,000 mail voting packages as of Oct. 14 with just under 3.5 million registered voters. (Black Press Media File)
Abbotsford South and West ridings see more than 16,000 votes cast ahead of election

More than a third of all votes have likely been cast already

Students at Brookswood Secondary participated in Student Vote 2020. (Katie Glover/Special to Langley Advance Times)
PHOTOS: Students cast a ballot for Langley candidates

Brookswood Secondary participated in Student Vote 2020

Voting locations in Langley for the 2020 BC provincial election. (Google)
MAP: Voting locations in Langley

Sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Aldergrove legion Branch 265 president Doug Hadley presents a poppy to Langley Township mayor Jack Froese. (Madeline Roach/Special to the Aldergrove Star)
Poppy sales begin at Aldergrove legion branch #265

Branch president Doug Hadley shared the poem Who is a Veteran to begin the time of remembrance

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

file
One dead after fiery crash near Agassiz

Agassiz RCMP report a 56-year-old man died Friday night

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read