Bullied teen uses experience to win scholarship

7:50 PM, Apr 30, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Gabrielle Jones, a senior at Martin Luther King Jr. High School, spent years being tormented by her classmates.

Through the support of her family and her own determination, Gabrielle vowed not to let the bullies defeat her.

Her strength and will to share her story won Gabrielle a $50,000 scholarship from the Maltz Museum's "Stop The Hate" essay contest.

Gabrielle sat down and shared her story with Channel 3 Anchor Kris Pickel.

"Growing up, I was always bigger than my peers," Gabrielle explains.

Childhood can be difficult. For Gabrielle Jones, it was torture.

"I was friendless because no one wanted to hang out with the fat girl."

Gabrielle's pain is reflected in her writing. She writes, "During recess, the kids would ask me to be their horse and they would push me on the ground."

The taunts didn't stop at the school playground but continued on the ride to and from school.

"Kids would throw candy wrappers and Debby Cakes on my seat and tell me to eat it. Every day I would come home and run to my room and cry my eyes out," Gabrielle said.

Thankfully, Gabrielle isn't suffering anymore.

An essay on bullying earned her a $50,000 college scholarship. Her writing isn't just about the pain. It's also about her focus and the inner power she found once she hit high school.

"I was not going to allow myself coming into an adult to be a victim of hatred and bullying," she says.

So motivated, Gabrielle joined the NAACP and was even elected Student Council Vice President.

She talks about battling back the forces that were forcing her down.

"I found I had a voice and it's very powerful," Gabrielle explains.

She also credits her parents, especially her mother, who was also bullied earlier in her life.

"Never retaliate. It's just not worth it. Don't retaliate. Pray."

To other children and teens suffering from bullies' torment, Gabrielle says, "Don't give up. Never give up. You are all unique as fingerprints."

Gabrielle plans to attend law school, and eventually become a judge.


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