Most people can remember an incident or two of bullying from their childhood and how it affected them. For Diana Livingston, one particular moment changed her life. As a child with cerebral palsy, she was used to the occasional taunt from classmates, but in high school, one boy was especially cruel. She remembers him calling her a cripple and saying she was going to die soon. Fortunately, her math teacher overheard and intervened, standing up for Diana in front of the class and making the boy apologize. At that moment, Diana knew she wanted to teach and help others who were the victims of bullying.
Graduating from Penn State—Berks this Saturday at the age of 20 with a degree in elementary education, Diana has certainly proven her dedication and determination to reaching her goal. Her cerebral palsy has never slowed her down; she always finds the strength to keep moving, from focusing on academics when her family was briefly homeless to using a wheelchair when necessary to get around campus. She has already completed months of student teaching where she dealt with bullying hands on, and she’s hoping to get another teaching job while attending graduate school. Diana plans to advocate for change from within the system, making the point that you can’t help if all you do is “sit on Facebook and ‘like’ pages or share pages to raise awareness.” It’s clear that wherever she ends up, she will be doing a lot more to help than sitting on the sidelines.