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Saginaw Chippewa Academy students unite to make daily pledge for peace

Julie Severn

1/21/2003 12:00:00 AM

Continuing global conflicts plague the evening news as choices made by political leaders either extinguish or fuel already flaring tempers. Accustomed to seeing these graphic images of sweeping warfare, desensitized viewers simply change the channel or tune out altogether.

Instead of succumbing to a society where violence is often viewed as a knee-jerk reaction to solving situations, Saginaw Chippewa Academy students are striving for a positive solution through simplicity.

Each morning at 8:10 a.m.,the students are united by words of a promisingly peaceful future.

"I am a peacemaker today and everyday. I respect myself and treat others with kindness. I respect myself by being helpful and kind everyday. I respect Mother Earth and help keep Her safe. I am a peacemaker today and everyday."

Nearly 300 voices join in a pledge for individual betterment creating a small community with big hopes.

"The peace pledge was created and first read on Sept. 11 as a reminder to the students that wars and acts of terrorism don't just happen, they start out as a disagreement and escalate," explained Judy Pamp, middle school principal. "The students know that everyone is entitled to their opinion and it's all right to disagree, but they need to be respectful of others' views."

Each month, seven students are nominated for the honorary Maria Montessori Peace Award. Teachers then carefully select four winners based on acts of kindness and their abilities to peacefully conduct themselves.

"We're doing a lot of neat things to enhance learning life skills," Pamp added. "Our goal is for students to help themselves, as well as others, while getting a grip on social skills that can be carried into adulthood."

Peacemakers for November were Phillip Peters III, Christian Pelcher, Katelyn Pelcher and Jordan Logan. December honorees included Nikomi Lewis, Bethany Hinmon, Lindy Sowmick and Heidi Reed.

"These students do a lot of kind things everyday and we are very proud of them," said Toddler Teacher Gail McDonald. "They are our future leaders and are setting a good example for others to follow."