Andrew R. Garbarino, NY Assembly member and former Sayville graduate with the Sayville Upstanders

Siena College and AT&T Upstanders Program Visits Sayville High School

  • Recently Sayville High School participated in the AT&T and Siena Upstander Program hosted by the Tyler Clementi Foundation and Siena College. This cyberbullying peer-to-peer prevention program brings awareness about the growing cyberbullying epidemic to communities like Sayville and provides workshops, resources and tools that can assist students, teachers and school administrators to combat it.

    When Alyssa Lofaro, Sayville HS grad and Siena College student, approached her alma mater about holding the program here, Sayville High School Assistant Principal Jillian Makris and the High School’s Student Assistance Counselor Martha Kahan agreed this motivational program would provide the Sayville students with yet another worthwhile opportunity to reinforce the many classroom lessons and general assemblies on bullying.  During the two-day program held at Sayville High School, the high school students interacted with trained Siena College students—including Alyssa—to learn how to be an Upstander.

    “Upstander” describes the stance a bystander can take when witnessing bullying or cyberbullying attacks. Upstanders are encouraged to speak up, notify an adult or interrupt the negative behavior they are witnessing.

    Through the workshops facilitated by the Siena College ambassadors, twenty-four Sayville students were selected to participate and instructed how to be an effective Upstander. These workshops included peer-to peer conversations and role-playing exercises and concluded with the students taking the Upstander Oath.

    By the end of the two-day program, the Siena facilitators and the newly trained Sayville students conducted a school-wide assembly program to share best practices, build awareness of the danger of cyberbullying and promote the Upstander behavior and culture.

  • Sayville Students, pictured here with the Siena College Ambassadors and NYS Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino, are:

    1. Dea Ahlgrim
    2. Olivia Anderson
    3. Arianna Annarumma
    4. Isabella Arzt
    5. Thomas Bast
    6. Kailee Capobianco
    7. Hailey Cutrone
    8. Shayla Entin
    9. Julianna Ettorre
    10. Caitlin Fawcett
    11. Kiki Fitzpatrick
    12. Shaun Gibbons
    13. CJ Hichborn
    14. Faith Johnson
    15. Christina LaFroscia
    16. Alyssa Larkin
    17. Gabrielle Luthy
    18. Moira Mahoney
    19. Megan McLaughlin
    20. Carmella Perrone
    21. J. Puccio
    22. Chris Quartuccio
    23. Cameryn Surdi
    24. Abbey VonZwehl

  • The AT&T and Siena Upstander Program grows out of the Upstate Cyberbullying Census survey conducted in late 2016 by the Siena College Research Institute, AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation that measured the prevalence of cyberbullying among students, the awareness of this crisis among parents, and parents’ understanding of their children’s digital behaviors in New York. The staggering data from the study revealed more than 1 in 4 students in Upstate New York and another study indicated nearly half of all students in the New York City area have been a target of cyberbullying. Those statistics, combined with feedback from schools requesting cyberbullying prevention programming, led AT&T, the Tyler Clementi Foundation and the Siena to collaborate on this public education campaign.

    Working with the Tyler Clementi Foundation and Common Sense Media, AT&T has made addressing the rise of cyberbullying a priority. “The impact of cyberbullying on our youth has become pervasive and alarming. We simply can't allow this crisis to destroy more lives and families,” said Marissa Shorenstein, president, AT&T-Northeast Region. “In efforts to curb this negative behavior, AT&T has collaborated with leading organizations within the cyberbullying space to develop programs, including the AT&T and Siena Upstander Program, to give parents, educators and students the tools to combat this epidemic and help facilitate a dialogue that will to lead positive change in our communities.”