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Lizzie Sider performs and educates Marsh Junior High School students about bullying during an assembly at the school on Friday. (Bill Husa, Staff photo) All ChicoER photos are available here.
CHICO — Lizzie Sider is a bright, cheerful, energetic 15-year-old with a burgeoning career as a country singer, but Friday she was at Marsh Junior High School to do personal combat with bullying.Lizzie, who has performed with Nashville stars and whose Internet release “Butterfly” has scored more than 1 million hits, is in the second week of her 80-school tour of California.
Her show is a high-energy, one-person production during which she talks about her own experiences as the target of bullies in elementary school.
Before her show in the Marsh gym, Lizzie said to this day she doesn’t understand why, but she became the target of a clique in the school who devoted themselves to making her miserable.
She said she had one dear friend who was going through the same trials at the same time and that and her parental support got her over the challenge.
As she started to launch a singing career, Lizzie said she has been the target of another sort of criticism from people who have told her she is not “old enough, not good enough” to perform.
What other critics might think, 290 Marsh seventh-graders erupted into thunderous cheers when she bounced into the gym from a side door.
“I’m Lizzie Sider and I’m 15 years old,” said Lizzie, introducing herself to the crowd.
She told her audience she had been teased, excluded from games at recess and called names.
Then she asked her audience, while still holding their hands aloft, to open their eyes.
The students gasped when they realized almost everybody in the audience had their hands up.
Singing and dancing while she made her points, Lizzie pointed out, since almost everybody in the crowd knew the pain of being the target of bullies, “Let’s not cause that pain for somebody else.”
She also told the students that for a long time she came home from school crying almost every day.
Lizzie is joined on her tour by her attorney father, Don Sider, and her mother, Carole Sider.
Before her performance, she described both of her parents as “rock stars” who are always there for her, and during the show she credited her father with giving her the key to overcoming being bullied.
“My dad told me, ‘Nobody has the power to ruin your day’.”
She explained she didn’t really understand at first but she came to the realization, “We decide whether or not somebody else’s actions or words can get you down.”
In her finale, she sang “Butterfly,” which can be heard on YouTube at http://goo.gl/2vOOSi.
The lyrics say in part:
“And look at me now, look at me now
Finally comin’ and I want to fly
Gonna spread my wings, bright, and colorful things
They thought they knew me plain and shy,
But all along I was a butterfly.”
The series of school assemblies will continue in California until late November.
On Nov. 21, she will take part in the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, where “Butterfly” has been nominated for an award.
For more information about the singer, visit http://lizziesider.com/ on the web.
Reach Roger H. Aylworth at 896-7762, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @RogerAylworth.
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