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Mahwah Students Write Song With Grammy Nominee

Program is part of 'Operation Respect'

Betsy Ross third graders welcomed Grammy-award nominated songwriter Steve Seskin and his acclaimed songwriting workshop for schools. The students and teachers enjoyed this unique opportunity to collaborate with Seskin to write original lyrics and music and create a personalized motivational song, based on their own concerns and community at school.

In the morning, each class developed a section of the song, building on the previous classes' work. At end of day, the entire grade performed the song for the whole school. Later this month, you can visit Seskin's website to listen to the Betsy Ross students' song, "Never Give Up."

Seskin has conducted hundreds of these workshops for schools around the country. The goal of this program is to instill a love of creative expression in students, while helping them create their own songs that speak to issues that affect the entire school community, such as bullying, respect, peer pressure, diversity and self-esteem.

When students write their own song, they are more apt to live by the words and quietly convince other students to do the same. This workshop was made possible by the Betsy Ross HSO through a grant from Operation Respect. Betsy Ross introduced the Operation Respect "Don't Laugh at Me" (DLAM) program as part of the school's anti-bullying, harrassment and intimidation curriculum in 2011; Seskin is co-author of the song "Don't Laugh at Me" upon which the DLAM program is based. 

Operation Respect is a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming school climates so that they become compassionate, safe, respectful and bully-free and therefore conducive to the healthy growth of the social, emotional and academic arenas of children’s development. 

Co-founded in 1999 by Peter Yarrow of the folk group Peter, Paul & Mary, and Dr. Charlotte Frank, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at McGraw-Hill Education, the organization provides free, effective, curricular tools that help to transform and sustain positive school environments.

Operation Respect offers the “Don’t Laugh at Me” Program (DLAM) to elementary and middle schools as well as summer camps and other child-nurturing organizations that request it. The program materials are provided free of charge courtesy of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Operation Respect’s principal corporate sponsor, through its website: www.operationrespect.org.

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The above was submitted by Betsy Ross.

amber antone February 04, 2013 at 12:51 AM
i go to betsey ross school and in third grade and i remember when he came i'm in mrs.Nocito's class!

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