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CedarBridge Academy is aiming to be a beacon of hope to the community after implementing a programme that promotes peace throughout the school.

The senior school, led by principal Kalmar Richards, announced a new partnership with a non-profit organisation known as Peaceful Schools International (PSI).

As part of that CedarBridge has joined forces with 300 schools around the globe including in Sierra Leone, Pakistan and Serbia to introduce programmes and lessons designed to help students resolve conflicts peacefully.

Mrs Richards announced the new programme to S3 and S4 students at an assembly yesterday morning in honour of International Day of Peace.

She said the overall message was to teach students they had the power within themselves to promote peace and manage conflict in a positive way.

Mrs Richards believes the initiative could have a trickle-down effect.

“If they can take what they are learning here and carry it out into the community then we want to see that ripple,” she said.

PSI is a non-profit organisation founded in Canada in 2001 that aims to build an environment in schools where everyone feels safe, respected and valued.

It was created by Hetty van Gur who tragically lost her 14-year-old son Ben through an act of aggression and bullying at school.

Through the programme CedarBridge students will be taught lessons in cooperation, listening with empathy, communicating effectively, expressing rather than exposing anger, appreciating differences and resolving conflict

peacefully.

These will form a solid foundation for the school body to “work to create and sustain a culture of peace at CedarBridge Academy”, said Mrs Richards.

The Cornerstone Bible Fellowship, a non-denominational church on the Island, will assist with the project.

Its ‘Chain Reaction’ programme sparked by the family of Rachel Scott who was killed in the Columbine shootings also aims to promote kindness and random compassionate acts to disarm bullying and violence in schools.

Students, like 15-year-old Rickai Burrows, who spoke to

The Royal Gazette yesterday said they were on board with the initiative to better the school environment.

The S3 student said: “I think it’s a step in the right direction. I think it’s good to inform people about peace-making methods and things that will encourage change, considering what is happening in Bermuda.”

Chrisanté Bean, 16, echoed the sentiment and said the idea was a great move toward unifying the community.

“It’s a good idea to help people to come together. It’s a good unity thing. It’s important at this time because Bermuda is all over the place and just having a peace day to come together will be good for the community.”

Mrs Richards said the programme would help strengthen initiatives already in place.

Every week young people will take part in character education classes to instil the qualities and skills needed to promote peace.

Once a month they will also be required to take part in activities in the neighbourhood that encourage peace and non-violence.

Mrs Richards said: “As members of PSI we are required to add a peace education component to our curriculum.

“Over the years we have had a character education programme and we have focused on promoting the eight keys of excellence. We will continue to strengthen these programmes however this year we are partnering with Cornerstone Bible Fellowship to launch the ‘Chain Reaction’ programme, the aim of which is to inspire kindness and compassion.”

Mrs Richards said the school had last year revised its peer mediation programme. However, this year it plans to strengthen that by training at least 60 student leaders to become peer mediators.

By early next month 100 percent of CedarBridge Academy students are expected to participate in a conflict resolution workshop. They will be “provided with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to abide by a code of peace in the school”, said Mrs Richards.

This peaceful behaviour will also be expected of students while outside the school, she said.

“We will be required to report on the activities we are carrying out and to share them with other organisations and schools.

“When we hold our events and professional development activities for staff, students and parents, we are required to administer evaluations and share the responses of our participants with PSI.

“We will share what we are doing with other schools locally and internationally and they will learn from us and we will learn from them.”

lUseful websites: www.peacefulschoolsinternational.org; www.cfbermuda.org

CedarBridge Academy celebrated becoming part of the International Day of Peace Programme yesterday. As a part of global celebrations by Peaceful Schools International, they held a special assembly and flag-raising ceremony.
CedarBridge Academy celebrated becoming part of the International Day of Peace Programme Wednesday. As a part of global celebrations by Peaceful Schools International, they held a special assembly and flag-raising ceremony In this photo Miss Melanie Burrows the Chairperson of Safety and Health Committee gives a presentation during the Assembley and is joined on stage by Deputy Head Girl Akeila Richardson, Head Girl Leanna Hall and Deputy Head Boy Antione Williams( Photo by Glenn Tucker )
CedarBridge Academy celebrated becoming part of the International Day of Peace Programme Wednesday. As a part of global celebrations by Peaceful Schools International, they held a special assembly and flag-raising ceremony In theis photo Mrs. Mary Samuels, Vice President of Cornerstone Foundation speaks during the Assembley and is joined on stage by Deputy Head Girl Akeila Richardson, Head Girl Leanna Hall and Deputy Head Boy Antione Williams( Photo by Glenn Tucker )
CedarBridge Academy celebrated becoming part of the International Day of Peace Programme Wednesday. As a part of global celebrations by Peaceful Schools International, they held a special assembly and stood in silience for a minute of peace during a flag-raising ceremony( Photo by Glenn Tucker )
CedarBridge Academy celebrated becoming part of the International Day of Peace Programme Wednesday. As a part of global celebrations by Peaceful Schools International, they held a special assembly and Dame Jenifer Smith the Minister of Education gave a Proclamation during flag-raising ceremony ( Photo by Glenn Tucker )
CedarBridge Academy celebrated becoming part of the International Day of Peace Programme Wednesday. As a part of global celebrations by Peaceful Schools International, they held a special assembly and flag-raising ceremony.( Photo by Glenn Tucker )

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Published September 22, 2011 at 9:56 am (Updated September 22, 2011 at 9:56 am)

School embraces a partnership of peace

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