Pierre Moran student leaders empower others

Throughout Pierre Moran Middle School, you will encounter students who are passionate and determined to make a difference in their school, community, and others’ lives. These students are participating members of Move2Stand, a program on a mission to empower student leaders to stand against bullying and harassment.

The Pierre Moran Move2Stand program is organized by a group of teachers and under the council of a student leadership team. Cara Starzyk, a math teacher at Pierre Moran Middle School, has the privilege of working with these students. Mrs. Starzyk explains that she has found a passion in watching these kids succeed, grow, mature, and stand up for each other in the school.

During this school year, membership has grown from 13 participants to 57. The program began with teachers choosing students to participate and lead the growth, but has grown so much by student-led efforts, that participation in now based on an application process. Mrs. Starzyk describes the community effort at Pierre Moran, saying “it’s not only the students who get involved. Every staff member – from custodian to principal – proudly owns and wears a ‘Spread Kindness’ t-shirt. It’s something positive, and our students and staff love it!”

The student leadership for the program consists of: Lucas Pittman – President, Ashton Taylor – Vice President, and Kevin Hill – Secretary. Each of these well-spoken leaders has a common goal. They want to be positive, inspirational, and motivators for not only themselves but to others. Lucas explains that he hasn’t always been the leader he is today, “Move2Stand has taught me responsibility, to have a voice, and has given me the motivation to be proactive to stop bullying.”

The Pierre Moran Middle School Move2Stand program is supported by student-led fundraisers. The students organize dances for their school, make posters to promote and advertise the program. “The other students appreciate the activities we work on, it is a great way to bring our school together,” Kevin explains. “Being part of Move2Stand gives me an urge to go further and succeed in life. We are trying to make a difference in the way we think, we want to change negative thoughts to the positive.” Ashton says the program has taught him to be a better version of himself, to have the confidence to talk to a lonely person at lunch, and to be more compassionate towards others.

Ashton and Kevin are headed to Elkhart Central High School next year, and Lucas the year after. All three of them plan to continue their work with Move2Stand, “We want the community to know that Pierre Moran Middle School is better than ever. We are a school full of students who care. It doesn’t matter if you are a teenager or an adult, being nice to people is easy, no matter who you are or what you’ve been through.”

Pierre Moran Middle Schools Move2Stand program encourages students, staff, and the community to do our part to make our schools and surroundings a better place. The Move2Stand program is active in all Elkhart Community Schools middle and high schools.