Jurone Pulliam (10) interacts with Bryan Stow after the presentation on November 6, 2015 in Theater 50. “I learned that anything can ruin your life and bullying is not a good choice,” Pulliam said. “The video helped the effectiveness of the presentation because it helped me see what he had gone through.”
On November 6, 2015, Bryan Stow, a victim of bullying, came to Theatre 50 to educate students about anti-bullying.
Giants fan, Bryan Stow attended a baseball game against the Dodgers at the Dodger’s stadium on March 31, 2011, where he was attacked by two adults in the parking lot and suffered a severe brain injury, resulting in a coma. When he woke up he had to learn how to eat, breath, walk, and be an adult.
“We were in the parking lot after the game,” Stow said. “The Giants had lost and I left all of that on the field. While we were walking out, someone yelled something behind us and before I could turn around, I got hit in the head. That’s the last thing I remember.”
From this incident, Stow and his family began a campaign called “Bryan Stow Foundation” with his speech therapist to discourage events like these from happening again. The speech therapist reached out to an English teacher, Mrs. Smith about presenting at American High School.
“I think empathy is important part of this presentation,” Smith said. “Bryan Stow himself is the personification of someone who is courageously continuing to live his life after it [his life] was almost taken away from him. I think this is a message that our students, teachers, faculty, and everyone can hear and benefit.
However, due to space limitations, this event was not publicized and only intended for a certain audience.
“We invited two PE classes, a health class, and other students,” Smith said. “The thought was that ninth grade students would benefit from the message the most. Also, we knew that Theater 50 only seats 180 people, so we could not offer it to all the 600 students in ninth grade.
Many students found this presentation to be effective, since they heard a presentation from a Stow, a well-known figure.
“I learned so much from his presentation,” Areej Abed (11) said. “We always hear teachers and staff members talk about stopping bullying and we just get immune to it. I already knew that bullying was wrong, but hearing and seeing Bryan Stow really changes your perspective.”
Afterwards, many students and faculty members found Stow’s presentation very inspirational.
“This presentation was very effective because bullying is such a big deal from every aspect, from elementary school to junior high to high school,” custodian Benjamin Foutch said. “The impact Bryan Stow had directly of the students and staff was well felt and I think we all took it to heart when we realized this could happen to anyone.”
However, since this was Stow’s first time presenting to an high school audience, there were some concerns on the delivery of his presentation.
“I think the presentation could have been more effective if it was said in a way targeted towards high school kids,” Madison Alexander (12) said. “I say this because it almost felt like we were being told what to do. It was more harsh than a usual presentation should be, but I think after seeing him and his journey, it went straight to my heart.”
Stow is planning to speak to many other students in Napa and is hoping to raise money for his anti-bullying campaign through benefit concerts.
“We promote this organization through Facebook, Twitter, and word of mouth,” Stow said. “We have a benefit concert in January at Santa Cruz and Lunatic Fringe is playing there. We have a trip set for Napa to present to juvenile hall.”