Friday, April 12, 2024

BMX and X Games Stars Visit Williamsburg High Schools, Bring Awareness to Bullying

WILLIAMSBURG — With high-flying tricks that captured the attention of students, faculty, and administration, alike, the No Hate Tour brought BMX and X Games stars to area high schools with the message that bullying is not acceptable.

On March 8, students and staff at Warhill High School spent most of their afternoon in the gym. Ramps were set up and a DJ pumped up the crowd. Zach Newman, Mason Ritter,  Riley Jordan, and Trevor Meyer were zooming around on their bikes, showcasing massive tricks, all in support of the message of ending bullying.

The No Hate Tour aims to bring awareness to bullying in a peer-to-peer environment. Topics during the show range from prevention tools and techniques to personal stories from the riders as they relate to bullying. The tour travels from high school to high school and stopped at Lafayette and Jamestown high schools earlier in the week.

Dan Sieg, a professional BMXer, who is the East Coast tour manager, knows that he has a limited number of seconds to capture students’ attention as he emcees the program.

“BMX and The X Games are something these kids can relate to. It’s a high school thing. All of us got into bike riding in high school. At the end of the day, they are still high school kids, you can have the best message presented in the best way possible, but if you just talk to them the whole time, eventually they are going to lose interest,” Sieg said.

To hold that interest, during the show, bikers show off their tricks, flipping and twisting both in the air and on the ground.

According to Sieg, the group tries to sell the idea of finding a passion.

“Find something that you love to do. Find a passion that you have in your life and just ride that until the wheels fall off. That’s what we did and if we can do it, so can you,” Sieg said.

Assistant Principal Mia Pollard got in on the action, as she was selected to sit on a chair on top of a ramp while one of the bikers jumped over her head.

Warhill High School Vice Principal Mia Pollard gets a front-row seat to the highflying action (Megan Roche/WYDaily)

“I wasn’t scared. I knew this gentleman had done this a million times before,” Pollard said after the assembly.

All the riders performing throughout the assembly share their experiences with bullying during the show. Highlighted at Warhill was Zach Newman, who was picked on and teased for his girl’s bike when he first started biking. The bullying got to a point that he almost quit riding completely.

Newman, who recently won a bronze medal at the X Games, hopes that the students understood the overall message of the assembly.

“There was one kid in the front row who was jumping around and showing off for his friends to get some reactions, but in order for him to be on point with his excitement, he’s paying attention. He doesn’t even realize that he’s acting like that because he’s paying attention and getting it. I do think they listen and hear what is being said to them,” Newman said.

While the focus is mainly on the kids, Newman hopes to leave a mark behind on the faculty at each school, as well.

“My high school guidance counselor didn’t want to help me with scholarship opportunities because I was that skate park kid in high school. She thought I had no direction in life. As much as this show is for the students, I also want to remind the faculty that you should never judge a book by its cover. You never know where your students are going,” Newman shared.

The entire No Hate Tour team stayed behind well after the assembly to meet with students, sign autographs, and talk on a one-on-one basis. It’s a chance for the stars of the BMX world to connect with the teens on a subject that is important.

The No Hate Tour continues to North Carolina for the next two weeks, with stops in Raleigh and Charlotte. The tour wraps in Columbia, South Carolina at the end of March. For more information on the No Hate Tour, visit nohatetour.com.

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