Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


January 9, 2014

Wading through the rain

Young girl denounces bullies through song


Ame Matuza said local teachers have received copies of the song so they can share it with students.

“There have been too many terrible stories of late about suicides and horrible tragedies associated with bullying,” Matuza said. “We are trying to get the word out that bullying should not be tolerated.”

Moira O’Brien, Zoe’s former principal at Shawsheen Elementary, sent it to all of her staff. Teachers at West Elementary have been playing it for their classes. Gina Murray of the West Middle School PTO sent it to the principal, vice principal and some of the guidance counselors to play.

West Elementary School Principal Liz Roos said in an email that Zoe’s song fits in with the five tenets of the school’s Open Circle program.

“That’s our social emotional program and the tenets are: making big problems smaller, caring about your classmates, knowing when to ask for help, working well with others and being in control of body and words,” Roos wrote. “Students are recognized with Open Circle High Five stickers for demonstrating any of the tenets.”

Zoe, who has two younger siblings, said she knows putting her autobiographical story into a song on iTunes could have opened her up to even more bullying. But it hasn’t.

“I just thought that maybe I could help someone ... that’s why I did this song,” said Zoe, who in her free time swims on the Hurricanes team, dances and teaches at Dance Infusion in Andover, takes piano and guitar lessons and plays in the chime choir at church.

She encourages youths who might find themselves the target of bullies to open up about it and not keep it to themselves.

“Bullying is out there and you have to talk about it,” she said. “I was lucky to have my mom and my best friend. I talked and cried with them. That’s what you have to do ... talk about it. Don’t hide.”

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