Spreading Her Wings: Teen music star presents anti-bullying message (Royce City Herald Banner)

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May 8, 2014

SPREADING HER WINGS: Teen music star presents anti-bullying message

By AUSTIN WELLS
Herald-Banner Staff

Teen country music artist Lizzie Sider had a simple, meaningful message to tell the young students at Davis Elementary School last week, a message once told to her by her father when she was being bullied in elementary school.

“One day before I left for school, my dad told me that nobody has the power to ruin your day,” Lizzie said.

Lizzie, a 15-year-old native of Boca Raton, Florida, visited Ruth Cherry and Davis elementary schools last Wednesday as part of her 250-school bullying prevention tour, to share her story about overcoming the bullying and ridicule she experienced as a little girl to pursue a career in music.

“When I was in elementary school, I was teased by the other kids in my grade,” Lizzie said. “They’d exclude me from games at recess. They wouldn’t let me sit with them at lunch. They’d call me names and laugh at me.”

Lizzie said she would walk around the playground during recess, singing quietly to herself, because the other children in her grade wouldn’t let her participate in their games.

One day, the other kids noticed her and asked her to sing for them. Thinking she was finally being accepted, Lizzie happily obliged.

However, the kids only poked fun at her some more before running off and leaving her by herself again.

Finding it increasingly difficult to endure this type of teasing on a daily basis, Lizzie said she had wanted her parents to pull her out of school.

That was when her father had told her that powerful message, the theme of her anti-bullying tour: Nobody has the power to ruin your day.

“When my dad first told me this, I really didn’t understand what he meant by it,” Lizzie said. “But after a while of thinking about it, and after my parents continuously telling me every single day, I realized that it means that we decide whether or not someone else’s words or actions get us down or make us feel any less about ourselves.”

Lizzie pointed out that bullying is something that even popular celebrities, such as Selena Gomez, Michael Jordan and Taylor Swift, have experienced at some point in their lives.

“Not only did they overcome that, but they also never stopped believing in themselves,” Lizzie said. “They never stopped following their dreams. Once they reached a certain goal that they had, whether that goal was big or small, they set newer and higher goals, and then they worked towards those. And I encourage all of you to do the same because I’m here to tell you guys that it’s so true, that whatever we set our minds to, we can accomplish.”

In October and November of last year, Lizzie visited over 85 schools throughout the state of California, and 100 schools in her home state of Florida, educating children across the country on ways to prevent bullying.

Her tour also includes visitations to 70 schools throughout the state of Texas.

Lizzie recently participated in her first Country Music Awards Fest week with a live performance at the famed country music venue, The Wildhorse.

Her singles “Butterfly” and “I Love You That Much” charted in the Top 40 on Music Row. She is currently working on a full-length studio album, scheduled for release in 2014.

“Butterfly isn’t just about me,” Lizzie said. “It’s about all of us, about everyone in the world, because each and every one of us is different, and we’re all special, we’re all unique and we’re all beautiful. It’s up to each and every one of us to look after each other, just like we would look after a little brother or sister. Even if the person being bullied isn’t our closest friend, someone we’ve never seen before or talked to before, standing up for them is still the right thing to do.”

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