What’s to be done about bullying in schools, online, in companies? It’s a problem without a ready solution but Vanier graduate Alexis Lahorra didn’t let that stop her. While she was a student at Vanier, she decided to run the “Stronger than a Rock” Anti-Bullying Awareness campaign, that has left a lasting legacy at Vanier. For her efforts, Alexis was also awarded a $2,000 Forces AVENIR 2014 bursary in the category of Mutual Aid, Peace and Justice.

The anti-bullying campaign consisted of a student survey, a video, an installation of rocks and an awareness campaign that ran for three days, with special activities for students, such as theatre performances, motivational speakers who shared their personal stories, a poetry, Rap and Song session, an art exhibition and various information booths.

“The name “Stronger than a Rock” was inspired by my childhood,” says Alexis. “Getting rocks thrown at me in school seemed normal when I was a 7-year-old immigrant. The only way I could feel better about myself was through the support from my family. This concept stuck to me throughout the years. With the support of others we can be stronger than a rock!”

Alexis went on to study Communications & Cultural Studies and Spanish (Culture & Expression) at Concordia University where she has also been very active. In 2016 she was awarded the Outstanding Student Award.

“I feel so honoured to have been nominated and selected for the Outstanding Student Award,” she says. “Vanier College gave me the support, skills, and experience that enabled me to further pursue my dreams and goals, which includes an education at Concordia!”

“I started the Jack.org Concordia Chapter (student chapter of Jack.org), I’m a JACK TALKS Speaker and a youth mental health advocate. I’ve attended the JACK SUMMIT (National Mental Health Summit) for three years in a row.”

Alexis also gave a speech at the World Bank and World Health Organization joint meeting in Washington, D.C. in spring 2016 as a Jack Talks Speaker- where she spoke about mental health and her personal experiences.

Alexis’ advice to prospective students:

My advice for students is to follow your passion, dreams, and goals. At Vanier College, there are volunteer opportunities, services, and staff that can help you with your endeavours. Get
involved and don’t be afraid to take a chance.

It is okay to not have everything figured out from the get go. I started in the Nursing Program in 2011, but switched into Communications: Art, Media and Theatre a year later. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Life is a journey, not a destination.” This path that you are about to embark on can change and that is perfectly fine. All that matters is that you do what makes you happy.

Vanier shaped and molded me into the student I am today. Being involved with the Vanier Key Society, the VCSA, the STAR Program, and volunteering for various events at Vanier, allowed me to find my passion and drive.

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