By Michael Canfarotta
The Queens College women’s lacrosse team spent an emotional day Dec. 9 talking to the seventh- and eighth-grade classes of St. Gregory’s grammar school in Manhattan in the hopes of furthering the national “Stomp Out Bullying” campaign.
Personal stories, pictures and YouTube videos used by the team helped to spread the anti-bullying and anti-cyber bullying program that moved some of the youngsters to tears.
Freshman Julianne Lostrappo first approached head Coach Tricia Moran-Bonagura with the idea. She had a story and a background that she felt could be directly related to the program and many of the children being addressed.
Lostrappo was a victim of bullying, which she says started in the sixth-grade and continued into high school. The constant attacks on her weight caused her to slip in and out of a depression. The campaign is personal to her.
“I could relate to these kids,” said Lostrappo. “I have been through it and got better and that was something I felt was important to share.”
Junior Nicole Foy talked about the effects of using pictures and videos. The kids were able to see that real people were being affected and bullying is something that is actually happening.
The results were tangible.
Moran-Bonagura noticed from the back of the room that the level of attention coming from the students was amazing because of their young age. There was no chattering or fooling around.
“They were so focused, so interested, some people were crying. It definitely hit home to them,” said Moran-Bonagura.
Besides the presentation, many of the young girls in the audience had the chance to share their own experiences with the team. Lostrappo was bombarded with thank-yous and questions. She had a chance to hear problems and give the youngsters her own positive message.
The first-year head coach was pleased with the way her team came together collectively.
“They had each other’s back and as a coach seeing that, I couldn’t have been more proud,” said Moran-Bonagura.
The learning experience, however, was not just for the students in the audience, but also for members of the team. Foy’s teammates approached her, saying how they would have loved to have had that presentation when they were in seventh-grade.
At Queens College, each athletic team participates in at least two-community service projects per school year. The women’s lacrosse team is looking forward to doing the presentation again at another school later in the year.
“To really have a reaction and to have an impact on other peoples lives would be an ideal thing to do for our other community service,” said Moran-Bonagura.
The team will start their spring season March 4 against St. Anselm at Dowling College.