The Friday Night Lights shined bright on the Leonard Cole Field in Marshalltown Friday night, but not just for another Bobcat football game; the lights shined to showcase how one community has been captivated by an effort to eliminate bullying.
Hundreds of students, teachers, local officials and community members all came together dressed in orange for a Not In Our Town "orange out" at Friday night's game against Ottumwa to show their proactive stance on bullying.
Marshalltown High School Principal Aiddy Phomvisay - who also sits on the Not In Our Town committee - said he couldn't be more proud of how the community and the schools have stepped up and taken initiative in the effort including the leaders of the Not In Our Town group established at MHS.
T-R PHOTO BY LUKE STALZER
Hundreds of students and community members raised their orange Not In Our Town signs and cheered to put a stop to bullying. Many dressed in orange to show their support for the effort.
"This is fantastic," Phomvisay said. "We believe this is great. It's about stepping up and providing a positive culture for everyone in the community. It's great seeing these families come together and support this, it's great."
When word got out about the proposed "orange out" at Friday night's game, the NIOT group at MHS had to do something more than just wear orange. Students started a chain of kindness where anyone could write one kind thing they've done for someone on a piece of orange paper and they linked them together to for a chain that stretched around the MHS track at the game.
"We want to make this more known to the community," Rachel Faircloth, MHS senior, said. "I hope the impact lasts not just after tonight, but forever."
Film crews with PBS flew back to Marshalltown for Friday night's "orange out" to showcase the magnitude of what Marshalltown is doing to spread the word about bullying.
Marshalltown resident Raul Arevalo said he thinks the effort is an amazing thing and he also thinks its great the community is taking a proactive approach rather than a reactive approach.
"I hope people run with this," Arevalo said.
The MHS Marching Band had a special halftime performance for the event and the Not In Our Town float was also on display at the game and will appear in Saturday's Oktemberfest Grand Parade.