River Grove student’s anti-bully play makes it to stage
Nicole Gabco wrote "Bullying Must Stop." The play was performed at River Grove Elementary School last week. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 14, 2013 2:38PM
RIVER GROVE — A young student’s inspiration made its way from pencil and paper to the stage at River Grove School Wednesday evening.
The flush of pink on Nicole Gabco’s cheeks showed her nervousness -- and her excitement -- about performing her play “Bullying Must Stop!” which was chosen to be performed Feb. 6 after the school’s Parent Teacher Association meeting.
“I was really happy, but now I’m kind of scared,” she said prior to the performance. “I’m really nervous because I have a lot to say (lines).”
Gabco, 11, said she was inspired to write the play after participating in Stop Bullying Week in December at the school. The writing activity that brought about the play was the result of the school’s Storypalooza event carrying the theme “Everyone has a story to tell.”
Storypalooza is the school’s literary theme for the year. As part of the theme students were able to write a story on any subject and the best of the group was chosen, which turned out to be Gabco’s.
Mary Chamberlain, Title 1 teacher at the school, and one of the teachers who helped organize the event, said they had 22 entries dealing with different themes. “We had five teachers look at all the articles and we looked at content, originality and presentation.
Gabco’s entry got the nod, but to put on the play she needed help, and 32 of her fellow students participated in the play in some way. The play’s main character, Emma, is a student being bullied by two fellow students -- Sabrina and Tommy, who are brother and sister.
Emma takes her plight to school authorities and eventually finds out Tommy and Sabrina are taking their personal frustrations out on Emma by bullying her. Eventually Emma, Sabrina and Tommy are able to talk to each other and work things out.
At the end of the play -- on the count of three -- the students who participated in the play took one big bow as the audience applauded.
Joanna Gabco, Nicole’s mother was one of those in the audience adding to the applause.
“I’m so proud of her,” she said. “I liked it (play). I’m disappointed the camera (I have) didn’t work.”
Looking up into her mother’s eyes, holding a bouquet of flowers that were given to her by the school, Nicole Gabco’s cheeks once again turned a rosy pink, but this time she was smiling, not nervous.
Chamberlain said Gabco’s play proved the truth of this year’s slogan -- everyone does have a story to tell, and the written word is powerful.
And it can be very simple, which is a point Chamberlain said Gabco explained very well on one of the school’s bulletin boards, where her achievement was highlighted.
“The only thing you need is a pencil, paper and a great imagination.”