Wrote, Benjamin Butcher, Treasure Mountain Middle School 8th grader
The name Benjamin "The" Butcher could be mistaken as the greatest school yard bully's name of all time.
Yet, the 8th grader at Treasure Mountain Middle School, who isn't afraid of admitting he's been a bully as well as the bullied, was recognized recently for an essay he wrote to deter the vicious act from happening at his school.
"Once I was introduced to the topic, I knew I could write a good, solid essay, about bullying because I have experienced it," Butcher said. "During these experiences, I have been both the bully and the victim. If I had to give advice to anyone who was being bullied, it would be to walk away. Be proud and confident, and no one can stand in your way."
On Friday, April 26, Lt. Governor Greg Bell and the Utah Board of Juvenile Justice honored Butcher, along with 11 other Utah middle school students for their written anti-violence entries to Utah's 13th Annual "Do the Write Thing Challenge," as a part of the National Campaign to Stop Youth Violence.
During the ceremony, Bell gave a speech to the students addressing the importance of anti-bullying campaigns in Utah schools, and also shared personal stories about how he has experienced both sides of bullying.
"I'm so glad I was chosen to be a finalist in this contest," Butcher said. "(Lt. Governor Bell) talked about how he was a bully and how he was a victim as well. This just goes to show that everyone has experienced this before."
School Districts around the state reported that more than 3,400 students participated in classroom discussions about youth violence. More than 1,700, like Butcher, chose to submit essays for review.
Students from the University of Utah, Utah State University, Weber State University and Utah Valley University, participated in the first round of judging, selecting the top 91 writings. The Utah Board of Juvenile Justice then selected the top 12 finalists, whose work was forwarded to Utah' VIP judges of scoring.
VIP judges included: Chief Chris Burbank, Hope Woodside, Mayor Ben McAdams, Miss Utah Kara Arnold, and other prominent members of the community.