Tiffany Kontoyiannis, 19, knew she had to do something to stop bullying. Kontoyiannis was a bullying victim herself, but she says she grew confident over the years and was able to turn her situation into something positive.
"In ninth grade I watched a news report on a girl that had committed suicide because she was bullied and it really inspired me to write a monologue. Little by little my monologues added up and it became a play called 'The Cycle,'" Kontoyiannis said.
"The Cycle" is a 15-minute play that showcases all types of characters in a bullying scenario.
"[I] wanted to try to get the audience involved and get all of them to relate somehow."
Kontoyiannis, now a sophomore at Barnard College in New York, wrote the play her freshman year as a student at Miami Country Day school. Her senior year of high school, 2012, she submitted the play for a Silver Knight Award and won first place in the drama category.
"It by far made everything that I had ever endured, including me being bullied, all of it became so worth it," she said.
The play has been presented at several South Florida schools. After each presentation the cast does a Q&A session about bullying, and students then have the option to sign a pledge.
"It's nice that we have people saying I'm going to stop it whether I'm the bully, whether I'm the victim, whether I'm the bystander," Kontoyiannis said.
Although Kontoyiannis chose to create change by writing a play, she stresses bullying is no fake act.
"It's definitely real and I want kids to really not only worry about their actions, but their words, and it shouldn't be about putting someone else down," she said.
Kontoyiannis hopes to showcase the play at schools across the country. Her project goal is to help school administrators implement a curriculum that creates more awareness about the effects of bullying.
For more information on anti-bulling click here.