Four O Heroes from the football team visited an eager class of fourth graders last Friday,

February 24th at Riverbend Elementary School in Springfield. Brittany Glenn, a UO graduate student in the School of Education, is student teaching for Eva LaMar's fourth grade class and noticed that bullying is an issue that has been becoming more and more of a problem lately. "Bullying is a nationwide problem" Glenn said, "I felt it was necessary to give our students the tools to stand up to bullying."

Boseko Lokombo (Jr. -LB), Derrick Malone (So.-LB), Jamaal Burrell (Jr.-OL) and Bryan Bennett (RFr.-QB) took the time from their Friday afternoon to share their insights and experiences with regards to bullying and answered Q&A from students about how to deal with bullies and what motivates and inspires them to be true to themselves even in the face of ridicule. Bennett spoke about how hard work helps build confidence that can help to ward off bullies looking for someone to pick on.

"When it comes down to it, you want to work as hard as you can so that no matter what happens at the end, you can say 'I worked as hard as I could,' if you can say that at the end of the day, then that is success...it all comes from a work ethic."

Burrell added that it's okay to simply accept yourself regardless of what others think or say, "be yourself," he said "don't let anybody change your decisions because of what they think. Do the things that make you happy."

The players took time at the end of the discussion to sign the classroom's 'Anti-Bullying Pledge' and in doing so pledged first of all not to be a bully and secondly, to stand up to bullies if they see someone being victimized.

Glenn said the students were elated after the visit and felt it had been helpful, "The overall message communicated to my students was inspirational. The players were unanimous in their message; stand up for yourself, work hard against people who say you can't, and believe in yourself and nothing else matters."

"All in all I think it was a good experience for both us and them," Bennett said as he left the school on the sunny Friday afternoon, "you could see that they were happy to see us and hear from us, and for me in meant a lot to be able to pass on some knowledge to the kids and hopefully they can take our words and make something out of them."