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Waverly Cares Day responds to controversy

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Waverly Cares Day responds to controversy
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One Tioga County community has come together to rebuild their village's reputation. A controversial skit at Waverly High School ended up making waves, from coast to coast.
Our Elyse Mickalonis shows us the message, Waverly residents were sending Sunday.

WAVERLY, N.Y. -- The controversial pep rally skit caught the eye of the nation last month. Three Waverly High School students dressed in blackface and acted out a domestic violence skit. It acted out hip hop artist Chris Brown's apparent beating of singer Rihanna. Now the school district and community are trying to rebuild their good name and reputation.

“I think with anything, when you stub your toe, you get back up and learn your lesson not to stub your toe again,” said Kyle McDuffee, Waverly Village Mayor. “But we all do it and it happens.”

Shayna Peterson, Waverly High School Sophomore, added, “It was like, OK we didn’t mean for it to be like this, but it’s...everyone thinks that we meant it.”

After the whirlwind of media attention, the Waverly Cares committee was formed.
It’s made up of Waverly High School students, staff, alumni and community members.
They headed a special event Sunday where people came together for Waverly Cares Day.

“It’s a chance to show everybody, ‘You know what? We’re more than what we’re being portrayed as,’” said Lisa Bailey, Event Coordinator.

Waverly residents, students and alumni formed a giant heart on the 50-yard-line at Waverly Memorial Stadium to symbolize many hearts beating as one. Just one of the many steps the community is taking to show they care.

"We say, 'OK what did we learn from this? Where can we go forward?' We're not trying to cover anything up. Yeah, we messed up, but now where do we go? This is where we go,” said Bailey.

Moving forward from an incident that many say tarnished the entire village’s reputation.

Hundreds of T-shirts and bracelets were sold in support of the cause. The group presented a $1,000 check to an organization dealing with domestic violence and other abuses.

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