After a week of buildup and mysterious “ShredHate” posters popping up around the school, Obama students were pleasantly surprised this Friday when Pirates pitchers Steven Brault and Joe Musgrove (alongside the Pirate Parrot, the real star of the show) showed up at the school for an anti-bullying assembly. The result of a partnership between No Bully, ESPN, the X Games, and MLB teams, the Shred Hate initiative is an attempt to combat bullying and hateful behavior in schools across the country, and to encourage students to prioritize kindness and teamwork in their day-to-day activities.
Pirates in-game host Joe Klimchak energized the crowd before handing the mic over to Principal Yalonda Colbert and Class of 2020 President Cecil Price III, who both touched on the importance of the initiative and the type of behavior it is trying to fight. Several students were then called up onto stage to play cooperative games on teams led by Brault and Musgrove. This routine was also repeated for middle schoolers after the high school assembly. Before leaving, the Pirates players were swamped by a tide of students asking for pictures. Several students were in turn interviewed by the Pirates about their own experiences with bullying. Brault could also be seen popping in and out of the hallway behind the auditorium to talk to and record students with a miniature camera he had surreptitiously “borrowed” from the Pirates’ camera crew.
Judging by the enthusiasm displayed by both the Pirates and students, the assembly may have sparked a movement towards kinder behavior throughout the school this holiday season.