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Plain City Advocate News Article

The Plain City Advocate did a very extensive 3 page story on the Super U! Challenge awhile back, as part of a presentations in several elementary schools in a local district in Ohio. The article does a wonderful job of summarizing the show, so we thought we would reprint it here for your reading pleasure.

Giving It All To Be A Super U!
Monroe Elementary Students Learn How Not To Be A Bully

By Fran Odynec
Originally Published in The Plain City Advocate

(Plain City, Ohio) Coming in a single file, they filled the gym under the watchful eyes of their teachers last Wednesday morning.

As they took their places by grade on the gym floor, a low din began to build among the 285 or so Monroe Elementary School students who would soon learn what it takes to be a “Super U.”

“Super U” is a 45-minute interactive program designed by Midwest School Shows of Michigan to demonstrate what it takes to be a good student and member of the community instead of bullying fellow students and friends into doing things they may not want to do.

Chris and Brandy Lynd were the hosts of “Super U” and wasted no time in gaining the assembly’s nearly undivided attention. They explained that they would be taking the “Super U” challenge, but it was not going to be a quiz show. The challenge would follow along what they were used to seeing on Nickelodeon.

That brought a rather loud cheer of approval.

Chris raised the volume even higher when he announced, “There will be a little bit of slime as well.”

The kids roared a resounding “Yaaayy” which quickly turned into a somewhat deflated “Awwwww” when Chris told them, “The slime game is a little bit later on.”

It was time to get on with the show by telling them that “Super U” is “all about being the you that you can be.”

“’Super U’ means you and you and you and you and everybody back there too,” he said, pointing to as many in the audience as possible.

The kids were about to participate in five activities that are designed to show:

-The positive power of making good choices in what you say and do
-The results teamwork can generate
-The importance of mutual trust
-Respect for others
-Not going against the wishes of others

To make things more interesting, the audience was divided down the middle into the red team and the blue team.

For each of the activities, Chris and Brandy searched the audience for volunteers, a search that not once came up short on willing kids. Once chosen, the volunteers would represent their respective teams up at the stage are and compete for points, which had the audience on the edge of their seats, err….knees.

The first activity, “Instant Super Hero,” was a race to see which one of the two volunteers would suit up as a super hero faster than the other one.

“Super Heroes use the powers they have to do good”, said Chris, “not to cause harm”. He added, “We all have the super power to choose to make sure that we don’t do or say things that would cause harm, physically or emotionally, to other people.”

The boy from the blue team beat the girl form the read team 5 to 2 in the suit up. Next up was an exercise in teamwork that, once again put the red team against the blue team.

This time, each team had to build a tower out of foam blocks and then carry them slowly to the finish line without having them topple over.

“If it does,” said Chris. “You have to go back to the beginning and start over.”

With a display of teamwork, the teams of two volunteers each began to build, and then rebuild, and rebuild again before one of them reached the finish line. All the while the audience was enthusiastically cheering on their teams.

The blue team made it to the finish line pushing the blue lead to 10 to 7.

“You have to trust your friends and trust is something that you have to build,” Chris said of the tower building segment. “It takes just one dishonest thing to that trust and then you have to go back to the beginning and rebuild it.”

Then it was time for the baton pass; not just any ordinary baton, but a slippery water baton that would represent “respect”.

Two teams of four volunteers each would pass baton after baton down the line to the last person who would then try as best as he or she could to hold onto all those batons.

“Respect is something that you have to ‘pass along’, you have to give respect if you want to give respect,”, Chris explains.
The winner would be determined by the number of batons the fourth person in line could hold without dropping them.

The teams had 30 seconds to see what they could do.

With the audience at a high pitch, the “pass” was on.

In the end, it was a tie, as each team had passed and successfully held on to nine batons.  As a result, the blue team held onto its three-point lead, 19 to 16.

At last, it was slime time which brought the audience to a level of energy that was pushing at the roof the gym.

The much anticipated finale focused not just on slime, but on respecting the wishes of others.

After a slime containment tarp had been placed down in the stage area, four more volunteers were chosen. “This is all about having some fun with friends,” said Chris. “Fun because our volunteers said it was OK. It wouldn’t be ‘just fun’ anymore if they didn’t want to do it anymore and we didn’t respect their wishes.”

He made the point to which all the messages in the show had been leading up to.

“If a friend asks me to stop doing something, it’s important that I stop,” he continued as he set the stage for slime. “Otherwise, it is no longer about having fun and you risk going from being a ‘Super U’ to a bully. That can make you feel like slime on the inside.”

He also said that if someone needs help if they see someone being bullied, it is okay to “call in a sidekick to help solve the conflict.  Two ‘Super U’s are always better than one.”

With two of the volunteers seated and protected from slime dripping down on to their clothes, the other two were each standing with a container of green slime ready to pour it into a container with holes at its base that had been placed one each head of the seated volunteers. “The one who gets the most slime into the container wins,” said Chris, and the pouring began amidst cheering that could be heard all over Plumwood.

At the buzzer, the red team had forged ahead of the blue team for a final score of 26 to 24.
But Chris didn’t really look at it as one team had beaten the other.

“Take 26, take 24, add them together and you get 50!” he exclaimed.

Those 50 points made Monroe the highest school so far this year, according to Chris and Brandy’s calculations.

“As teams you did well, but as an entire school of ‘Super U’s, you did excellent”, Chris commended the audience.

When Chris and Brandy told the kids to give themselves a big round of applause, those 285 or so students more than obliged.

As the students filed out of the gym and back to their classrooms, Monroe Principal John Lanka was seated at the back of the room.

“We had fun,” he said, “Now it is important that we follow-up with conversations with the kids about the messages in the show.”

He said the show helped set the stage for their anti-bullying initiatives.

“Our ultimate goal is for the kids to be aware of their role to be supportive of each other through their values, expectations, and behavior,” he said.

Monore Elementary has “4 Cool Rules for School.” Two of those rules the “Super U” show repeated time and time again:  1 . Be nice with your words and actions, 2. Respect adults and peers alike.

As Chris and Brandy said before the show, “we want the kids to be the best U that they can be…the best kid, the best student, the best community member.”

It all seems to fall in line with a banner that overlooks the gym and is emblazoned with the slogan” We’re building a better world, one student at a time.”


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