WEST ORANGE, NJ — As the annual “Week of Respect” began Oct. 2 in the West Orange School District, Kelly Elementary School kicked off its week with a special “Omega Man” assembly featuring feats of strength and serious anti-bullying messages meant to teach students about becoming a true H.E.R.O. — Helping Everyone Respect Others.
Principal Joanne Pollara and guidance counselor Flo Chirichiello were dressed in their own superhero costumes along with several students, who were excited to participate in the assembly. In 2008, the Omega Man franchise was created by Marc Wilkes, who had a speech impediment and was bullied as a child. He began speech therapy and lifting weights to build confidence and saw the opportunity to promote change by visiting schools, holding assemblies, and producing comic books and inspirational posters.
“The choices you make today determine your tomorrow and the power of those choices are up to you,” and “Be a dream-maker and not a dream-breaker,” are two credos of the comic book superhero’s positive message.
Students cheered as Omega Man ripped up a phone book, lifted two students on a bar, and broke a baseball bat to promote making changes and breaking old patterns of behavior.
West Orange schools held special events throughout the week of Oct. 2 to promote respect. The month of October will also feature anti-bullying and anti-violence themes.
Photos Courtesy of WOSD