Miss Wantagh 2012 is doing her part to tackle bullying.
Hailey Orgass, who was crowned Miss Wantagh this past Fourth of July, is spearheading a bullying prevention event as part of her community service project for the annual pageant. Orgass had originally planned to organize a community dance class for younger students but decided to call an audible after learning about the bullying Wantagh Middle School part-time custodian Melvin Turner experienced this past summer because of his Autism. The teasing of Turner led to an emotional outburst that included making threats toward the middle school and a subsequent firing by the district before a community outcry of support for the beloved custodian led to him getting reinstated.
“After the Mel Turner predicament, I decided this was a perfect time to implement a anti-bullying project in our schools,” said Orgass, a senior at Wantagh High School. “Although Wantagh is a wonderful town, bullying unfortunately happens here as well as other towns. Even I have been bullied multiple times so I knew it was time for this to end.”
Orgass and the Miss Wantagh Committee have joined forces with the National Bullying Prevention Center to create a Unity Day on Oct. 10 that encourages people throughout the Wantagh School District to sign pledges to end bullying. The Miss Wantagh winner will have a table in the main lobby of Wantagh High School on Wednesday for people to sign anti-bullying pledges and orange ribbons will be handed out to all participants. Students at all five Wantagh schools will have an opportunity to sign anti-bullying pledges on Wednesday and are being urged to wear orange, which is the national color of bullying awareness.
Orgass is running the bullying prevention project with the help of other Miss Wantagh 2012 participants. Ella Stevens, Miss Wantagh Pageant Coordinator, said the goal is for 5,000 anti-bullying signatures from throughout the Wantagh community on Wednesday. People can also sign an online "Unite Against Bullying" petition set up on Wantagh.li by clicking here.
“The Miss Wantagh Committee is very proud and jubilant that Hailey and her committee have undertaken this project,” Stevens said. “She wants to leave an indelible mark on this community and she is well on her way to doing that.”