Lauren Carnahan remembers her time in middle school.
The 2014 Plainview High School graduate remembers the put-downs and insults, sometimes made by fellow students just for a laugh.
“I took it to heart,” says Carnahan, who is currently majoring in vocal performance at the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma.  
Remembering her own challenges as an adolescent and a desire to perform her music, Carnahan was intrigued when she first learned about the Allstar Nation Tour, a national anti-bullying school concert tour that began in August.
The tour features emerging recording artists who perform and speak out against bullying at middle and high schools in an assembly that closely resembles a rock concert. Between songs, the performers share their own experiences with bullying and discuss prevention methods.
Since August, the tour has reached more than 70,000 students and faculty at nearly 50 schools in Michigan, Texas, Wisconsin and Florida.
Tuesday, the tour comes to Oklahoma with stops this week scheduled at Ardmore Middle School, Ardmore High School and Plainview Middle School.
Carnahan, who joined the tour in January during its run in Texas, says this tour will benefit Plainview and Ardmore students.
“I am really excited that we are coming because I’ve been to that school (Plainview Middle School) and I know what it is like. I understand it,” she says.
“I really wish there would have been something like this tour back when I was in middle school or high school. It is set up like an assembly, but I love that it has been made into something fun that the kids want to watch. It is a concert. We had so many anti-bullying programs that came to our school, but it was always somebody talking — giving a speech. I love this because it makes it easy to interact with. The singers are young and the students can relate to us.”
Carnahan — a pop singer, who was named “Best New Teen Artist of the Year” in 2014 by the Music Channel following the release of her debut EP titled “Out of Nowhere” — will be joined with “X-Factor USA” season six finalist Drew Ryniewicz.
This week’s performances will mark the first time Carnahan will share her own experience about being bullied. She plans to share about her days in middle school, letting negative comments impact and shape who she was. Looking back, it wasn’t worth it, she says.
“That is my goal with the tour — letting people know they are the only ones who can decide who they are,” she said.
It is an important concept that is likely to hit home for many students. According to a recent study, bullying affects nearly one in three students —grades six through 10 — in America. Another study found nearly 70 percent of students think schools respond poorly to bullying.
While it is Carnahan and other artists’ job to share a powerful message during their visits to schools, Carnahan says she is learning right along. With a goal to pursue music professionally, she says the tour has been an “incredible” learning experience. In college, she continues to work on her sound, which is transitioning into pop, with soul and R&B aspects.
As she continues to study and perfect her craft, she says she couldn’t think of a better tour in which to participate.
“This tour does a good job at sharing ‘Everyone is their own cool kid,’” she says.