By Holly Hill
The Louisiana Rotary Club brought in Peace Scholars who offered training to the freshmen and sophomore Student Council members and taught them about peace building and conflict solving. The Peace Scholars come from all different countries, and all have degrees in conflict resolution. Peter Paul Opata was one speaker and has a master’s degree in African Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Bradford, UK. The other speaker was Maria Morell who has a degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan.
The students learned to make their school environment more peaceful. The high school students focused more on cyber bullying and talking negatively about other students. Students for the most part agreed there is no way to stop bullying from happening, but if you stood up for someone who was being bullied it would happen less. The students also spoke about the differences between the resources given to the boys’ activities but not the girls’.
At a later date a Peace Training was held for parents and other adults in the community. The speakers discussed what the students learned and talked about. Peter and Maria were also given keys to the City of Louisiana.
Katelyn Watts also attended a separate Peace Scholar training. One thing they did during training was a service project to help the community by collecting clothes for children. Katelyn learned at the training that conflict is everywhere and for peace to happen worldwide it must start with the little things we do as people. She was able to meet with students from different countries and listen to their stories. They also made peace cranes, and before the dinner Katelyn had the privilege of saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
Katelyn had the chance to meet with a scholar, who spoke about her country and how different it is from the United States. The scholar lives in Uganda, where many people live in poverty. Katelyn stated that hearing about Uganda made her realize how great the United States is and made her more thankful for what she has. Katelyn said, “Peace is possible. If people think about others, we may one day achieve world peace. With every conflict comes a resolution.”