X Gamers give lesson on bullying

News-DemocratOctober 11, 2013 

Billy Gawrych with ASA Entertainment talks about the High School Tour that brought popular X Games athletes to Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville, Ill.. X Games athlete Trevor Meyer performs a stunt on a BMX bike as Gawrych provides statistics on bullying.

JAMIE FORSYTHE/BND

Althoff Catholic High School students oohed and awed as five major X Games athletes performed stunts on a temporary half-pipe erected on the parking lot of their school in Bellevile Friday afternoon.

However, it wasn't just for fun. The students learned some staggering statistics about bullying in schools from emcee Billy Gawrych with the ASA Entertainment High School Tour.

Some facts Gawrych shared with the students include:

* 160,000 students stay home from school every day because they are bullied

* 1 out of 10 students drop out of school because of bullying

* 56 percent of students witness bullying every day

* 25 percent of students are bullied for no reason at all

* 4,5000 students every year commit suicide because they are bullied

Althoff senior Peyton See said the statistics were "shocking."

"I think we have an overall good school," he said, "but it's good to have these bullying presentations."

"If you are doing any of this (bullying) you definitely need to chill out," Gawrych told the students gathered around each side of the half-pipe to see the tricks performed by X Games athletes Trevor Meyer, Jimmy Walker, Mykel Larrin, Eito Yasutoko and Paul Luc Ronchetti aka "PLR."

Meyer, Walker and Larrin were non-stop fun on their BMX bikes. Yasutoko wowed the crowd on in-lane skates, and Ronchetti manned the skateboard.

Gawrych reminded students the three major avenues for bullying: physical, verbal or cyber. "A lot of people are getting cheated out of their education because of bullying," Gawrych said.

"I loved it," Althoff senior Rachel Kaltwasser said of the presentation. "The tricks were really fun, and they gave us a lot of information."

"I thought it was entertaining," said Althoff senior Austin Mueller, "and I thought the facts were interesting."

The ASA Entertainment High School Tour is sponsored by the U.S. Marines and visits schools across the country. A handful of Marines were on site at Althoff Friday challenging students to do pull-ups or flexed arm hangs.

For more information about the tour, visit http://www.asaentertainment.com.

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or jforsythe1@bnd.com.

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