Local anti-bullying campaigner to speak at Zeminar event
Bessbrook girl Anita Dennison is set to take her anti-bullying message to Dublin when she takes part in a prestigious education and well-being event there next week. The former St. Paul’s High School student has established herself as a leading anti-bullying crusader, catching the attention of national media and winning more and more support every day.
The 20 year old Anita Dennison, now a second year student at Queen’s University Belfast has been setting her campaign trail alight spreading her inspirational anti-bullying message which is borne from her own personal experiences at the hands of malicious cyber bullies. At just 16 the Bessbrook girl endured a year-long hate campaign as anonymous bullies bombarded her with vicious online abuse. Refusing to buckle under the pressure of her ordeal, Anita shared her experience in a positive way to help other young people in the same situation.
She spearheaded a zero tolerance approach to any form of bullying in St Paul’s, becoming the school’s Anti Bullying Mentor, and started her own anti-bullying Twitter campaign (@bully_dont) and website attracting over 5000 followers.
Her outstanding efforts earned her a Diana Award in February 2015 followed by a Spirit of Northern Ireland nomination for overcoming adversity last June.
Such has been the success of her work, the Queen’s student has been invited to speak at Zeminar, an education and wellbeing event taking place from 11-13 October in the RDS. The event will bring together students from the 32 counties of Ireland to learn about everything from mental health, exam stress to becoming your own boss. Anita will join other inspirational speakers including Bressie, Maria Walsh, Jamie Heaslip and many more.
“I was asked to speak at this superb event back in May. I was shocked at first because there are so many organisations and charities doing life changing work to tackle bullying across Ireland, so to be chosen was a real privilege,” explained Anita.
“To be among Ireland’s experts on all things; bullying, mental health, sport and wellbeing is truly incredible. I have to admit I am slightly nervous about sharing my story in a venue with over 10,000 students from across Ireland, but once I get there and feel the atmosphere I’ll be ready to go.
“I’ll be speaking about “The Power of Words” and how words on and offline tore my life apart but the words of support from teachers (St Paul’s) and loved ones helped me get back on my feet. I now use words on a daily basis to help and support others through my (@bully_dont) campaign on and offline. I want to show the students that they have the power to change the world and to make a difference just by making their voices heard.
“At Zeminar the speakers are split into groups and I’m in the “Self Confidence and AntiBullying” category with Dr Irene Connolly who will speak about cyberbullying, Dr Eddie Murphy (Psychologist from RTE’s Operation Transformation) and Stephen Maguire (personal development coach) who will be speaking about his own experiences with bullying and mental health.
“Above all else, I only hope that my advice and experience can help at least one person in the audience seek the help that they truly deserve.”
More information on the event can be found at Zeminar.ie