SAN DIEGO – Some San Diego County students were recognized Tuesday evening for their participation in an anti-bullying campaign.
Senior Adrian Altez is the high-school winner for an essay contest, where he documented his own personal struggle with bullying.
“My self esteem started to drop,” wrote Altez. “But I knew I was a first rate person inside and that was all that mattered to me.”
At one point Altez weighed 272 pounds. He remembers being bullied, having low self-esteem and not having any friends to turn to.
“There came a point in my life,” wrote Altez. “Where I told myself ‘Adrian, you can’t trust anybody in this world.’”
Fortunately, Altez is now at a better place in his life. He lost 110 pounds and has overcome the bullying. He now hopes his story will help other children learn the dangers of bullying and what to do if they’re being bullied.
His advice: tell someone if you’re a victim.
“I regret not telling anybody,” said Altez. “Because it actually affected me in a horrible way. At one point I remember feeling depressed most of the time and I was always negative.”
Student Sophia Jones was chosen as the essay winner for the middle-school level. She wrote about a handicapped student in her school and her memories of how he was bullied. She wrote openly and honestly about how she sat by and watched, never speaking up and sometimes laughing along with the other students.
“I don’t know how it is to be bullied,” wrote Jones. “But I do know how it feels to be a bully and it feels horrible.”
The anti-bullying campaign was spearheaded by U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, who knows the long-term dangers of bullying.
“The statistics and the research show that kids who are involved in bullying, both on the bully and the bullied end,” said Duffy. “Have a tendency to become involved in crime as adults. And those who bully have a propensity to become involved in violent crime.”
Approximately 150 students participated in the essay contest. During an awards ceremony Tuesday, Altez and Jones were recognized for their entries. Dozens of other students were given honorable mention awards for their work.
San Diego Chargers Defensive End Vaughn Martin also spoke at the ceremony about his own experience with bullying.