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Teens speak out against bullying and negative name calling in eighth annual essay, acronym and video contest

Hey U.G.L.Y. – Unique Gifted Lovable You is proud to announce the winners of the 2010-11 Acronym, Essay and Video contests.


Hey U.G.L.Y. – Unique Gifted Lovable You is proud to announce the winners of the 2010-11 Acronym, Essay and Video contest asking youth across North America to do their part to speak out against bullying. In this, the eighth annual contest, students were asked to convert the negative words-Dork, Stupid, Loser, Hate and/or Racism into a positive acronym. The essay assignment was to write why having good self-esteem was important to stop bullying while the video challenge was to show why bullying is not cool.

Sixteen-year-old Dakota Cleek of Michigan City, Indiana converted the word stupid to Stop To Understand People’s Individual Differences.  

Troy L., Drake C., and Taylor A., 11, 12 and 10 years old respectively, from L.E. Reinsborough School in Dalhousie, N.B. Canada won the video contest. Their video debuted on in mid-October during National Stop Bullying Month.

Seventeen year-old Emily Kinnunen of Minneapolis, Minnesota eloquently explains the importance of having positive self-esteem in order to stamp out bullying. In her Essay she says: “Being stared at because you’re different wasn’t something I enjoyed. I looked into the mirror, and the mirror screamed back every word I ever heard. “Fattie!” “Weirdo!” “Emo!” I begun to think these words described me better than my MySpace page. I would smile and pretend everything was okay, but those kids didn’t know it was hurting me; ... Reality hit me in the face and I realized I was the stupid one, not the bullies. I was stupid for listening to these punks put me down" 

Cleek and Kinnunen won a $500 U.S. Savings Bond while the youth from L.E. Reinsborough School won $250 in cash.

The contests were created by Hey U.G.L.Y. – Unique Gifted Lovable You – the nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering youth to be part of the solution to bullying. Judged by an independent panel of professional writers the contest was sponsored by Dean Klassman, of Klassman Financial, one of the nation’s leading financial advisors. 

The panel of judges who graciously donated their time to judge this important contest was comprised of: Lisa Barron, freelance writer for People magazine; Rieva Lesonsky, former editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine; Sharon Dettmer, freelance writer for South Bend Tribune; Paul DeCeglie, writer for Pattaya Today; Rick Erwin, adjunct professor at St. Mary’s College at Notre and director of the award-winning film, “Things You Should Know Before Entering the Hospital:” Laurie Wink, freelance journalist; and Jill Zimmerman Rutledge, M.S.W., LCSW a psychotherapist who has worked with adolescent girls and young women for over twenty years and is author of: Dealing With The Stuff That Makes Life Tough, The Ten Things That Stress Girls Out and How To Cope With Them and Picture Perfect: What You Need To Feel Better About Your Body.

Hey U.G.L.Y.’s  ninth annual contests are underway with a May 15, 2012 deadline.

Hey U.G.L.Y., Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering teens and tweens with self-esteem and empathy-building programs to help them self-discover ways to become the solution to bullying. (U.G.L.Y. is an acronym for Unique Gifted Lovable You.) The Hey U.G.L.Y. message has reached over 700,000 students through their Empathy Learning Activity Plans (ELAPs), website, radio show and work with schools, community organizations and youth development professionals. Their youth programs enable students to become an integral part in the teaching and learning process. Go to to learn more. Educators go to


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 bullying prevention

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