OGDEN -- Steffan Soule spent Thursday afternoon talking to students about bullying, but not with a lecture -- he used magic.
In one of his first tricks, the magician told students to concentrate on a long piece of tissue paper that he was using to hold books. As he continued to stack books he told the students, "Focus all your attention into thinking the tissue paper is a big strap of leather." Moments later he told the students to go back to thinking it was tissue paper. At that point, the paper broke and the books fell to the floor.
"When we put our attention on the same aim we can do anything," Soule said.
Students cheered and clapped at the many tricks Soule performed and then when he started to relate some of his tricks to bullying they quickly could relate. "How many of you out there have been bullied?" he asked students. Almost every student raised a hand. "Let's make a bully-free school," he said.
At that, cheers and applause cheers resounded through the auditorium.
He then related bullying to a balloon and its enemy - an 18-inch needle. He quickly popped the balloon with the needle. He then produced another balloon and slid the needle through the balloon. As students gasped, he told them they could avoid violence by standing strong. After that, the balloon didn't pop, but disappeared. "We can make bullying disappear," he said.
Next, Soule talked about the Golden Rule and all the different sayings associated with it. Soule was at Mound Fort as part of the Golden Rule Project. The Golden Rule Project was launched in 2003 and offers a variety of tools with the purpose of re-introducing the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
The project has produced several different presentations that it gives to schools across the sate, said Bonnie Phillips, who represents the group. Soule's presentation is mainly done in junior highs. He has been visiting junior highs all along the Wasatch Front with his message.
Soule told the students that bullies are usually seeking attention, because it's something everyone needs. He suggested that students work together to combat bullies and often they can help the bully to overcome their bullying techniques as well. He used two glasses of clear liquid and showed how a bully can taint the clear intentions of others and the liquid changed to dark. He had two students shake the now-dark liquid and it changed back to clear. The students' jaws dropped as the liquid changed colors. He then took the jar the bully's dark liquid was in and it changed it to clear. "Sometimes we can use our attention to see others in a clear light," Soule said.
Alexis Rangeo, 13 said she loved the assembly. "He gave a great message," she said. She doesn't consider bullying to be a problem at her school, but has been bullied in her life before. She feels more equipped to handle it now. "It was cool to learn those things," she added.
The Golden Rule Project will send a bright yellow sign to students to hang in their commons area to remind students to follow the Golden Rule and stop bullying.