‘EMBRACE’ anti-bullying…and save precious lives


ST. PETERSBURG – Audrey “Pat” McGhee of APM Images presented EMBRACE 2016: An Anti-Bullying Production sponsored by Pinellas County Schools at the Gibbs Grand Theatre last Thursday, Oct. 27.

The majority of participants in the production were in the target age bracket of 12-18 who could be bullies, targets of bullies or both, according to several studies conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Audrey "Pat" McGee, Embrace, featuredThe production used elements of fashion, dance and dramatic pantomime to level the message on the current dangers of bullying, which has led to an uptick in what is currently being termed “bullycide” -when school-aged youth commit suicide as a result of extreme bullying.

One of the scenes in the production vividly displayed the dramatic traumatization that can emerge from cyberbullying. Scene III entitled “Unleash The Darkness In You” showed two groups of students on opposite sides of the stage texting each other feverishly and a target emerges in one of the groups. As both groups are about to clash, an adult picks up on what’s going on and breaks up the student cyber-attack. What was played out on stage unfortunately happens every day.

The production was a four-act theatrical piece narrated by Angelica Fletcher Mavros. The explosive colors of jubilee in the final scene “New Beginnings” exhibited the creative attire genius of McGhee.

Another impressive aspect of the production was the collaborative coming together of talented students from elementary, middle and high schools in Pinellas County. Samuel “Adan” Martinez of Gibbs High School played a violin solo of “Ava Maria” that was emotionally stirring as ballerina Gisselle Williams of John Hopkins Middle School danced. Even a group of young women from Pinellas Technical College helped backstage with hair and makeup.

  • Additional cast members were as follows:
  • Addison Dizens-The Weeping Child- Lealman Elementary
  • Amaya Carter-Model- Boca Ciega HS
  • Chase Moore-Model- Boca Ciega HS
  • Ericka Still- Model- Boca Ciega HS
  • Taylor Cooper- Anchor/Role Modeling- Boca Ciega HS
  • Curnesia Martin- Model- John Hopkins MS
  • Xiomaura Richardson- Model- Bay Point MS
  • Daniel Sanders- Anchor/Role Model- Gibbs HS
  • Janae McClendon-Model-Northside Christian HS
  • Dyimond Shields- Model-Northside Christian HS
  • Michael Hill-Soloist-Dixie Hollins HS
  • Noah Biddle-Monologue-Dixie Hollins HS
  • Silas Gregory-Monologue-Dixie Hollins HS
  • Julia Lister-Monologue-St. Petersburg HS
  • Giovana Capehart-Model-St. Pete Collegiate HS
  • Rochelle Terrell-St. Petersburg HS

Dunedin High School bully investigator Erica Davis choreographed every move in the production. The 45-minute production was the embodiment of citizenship and diversity as cast members represented multiple ethnic backgrounds, ages and various Pinellas County schools.

Sponsors for EMBRACE included the City of St. Petersburg Mayor’s Office, Pinellas County Schools, Department of Juvenile Justice, Adrienne Douglas, Affordable Wholesale Appliance, Angelia Flecther Mavros, Chick-Fil-A, David Pate, Deborah D. Figgs-Sanders, DePaola Pro Auto, Gomez Innovations, Lorraine’s Hair Academy, Men In the Making, Misty and Company, St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation Department, St. Petersburg Technical College, Salon Tru, and Shandy Gregg Photography.

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