Proud to be part of Pink Shirt Day

Ala Vaka, a year 13 student at James Cook High School, is proud to be part of a school which celebrates Pink Shirt Day.

“A school filled with students who do acts of kindness and respect and support one another regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation means peace and happiness. I am proud to say that our school is understanding of everyone.”

Spreading positivity

On 20 May, Ala and other members of the James Cook High School Pink Shirt Day team marked the occasion by spreading positivity far and wide.

“I believe that an end to bullying would change the world. People would be surrounded by positive thoughts and attitudes and no one’s self esteem could be brought down.

"We asked students to write a positive comment or letter about someone and place it in our positivity box. Once they had done that we got them to place a pink handprint onto a shirt that was drawn onto cardboard. The handprint symbolises them pledging to speak up, stand together and stop bullying.”

The positivity box will continue to spread good vibes throughout the year.

Finding inspiration through tragedy

Chance Whittaker-Ngaropo, another year 13 student at James Cook was an integral part of the 2016 Pink Shirt Day team, as Ala explains:

“Chance played a huge and special part in the lead up to, and on Pink Shirt Day, he put all of his energy into making it a success – and it was.”

Sadly the day after Pink Shirt Day Chance passed away in a car accident.

“His death has had a huge and devastating impact on the entire school. He will be remembered as a true anti-bullying hero and we’re all motivated to continue the legacy he has left and make Pink Shirt Day even better next year.”

Use your voice for good

For Ala, Pink Shirt Day means happiness and closure.

“It brings everyone together to fight for an end to bullying which has existed for far too long.”

She believes everyone has the power to end bullying – and it starts with speaking up.

“Use your voice to talk to somebody who can help you, everyone has someone, no one is alone. Words can change someone positively.”

PSD Ala Vaka story

“Being a part of a national movement towards positive change is such a powerful feeling. That we are all working towards making young people feel good about who they are, right across New Zealand.”

Pink Shirt Day participant