Peace Mala International Awards for Youth 2007
The Senior Finalists
The adjudicators were delighted with the entry from Salem Lutheran Church of Jacobus Youth Group of Pennsylvania, USA. Making the Peace Mala bracelets was the theme of the Youth Group's 6-12 Grade Winter Retreat. The students learned about world religions, and discovered also that they could talk to their friends about their faith in an intellectually open way, and the Golden Rule of 'Do to others what you would wish to be done to you.' This was an adventurous project, and the adjudicators are glad to encourage the work of this youth group with a Highly Commended Certificate.
Another strong candidate was Teesdale School, County Durham. An Interfaith Day was organized, as well as many Peace Mala bracelets being assembled. Sixth formers gave lessons on Peace Mala to younger members of the school, a really inspired idea in communicating youth-to-youth. The teacher experienced ill health, and her substitute, though sympathetic, was not able to bring the project to completion. However, for the warm interest and lively actions shown thus far, we have pleasure in awarding a Highly Commended Certificate.
The outstanding entry for the Senior Award came from St Michael's School, Llanelli, in South Wales - pictured here are the team leaders - l-r: Shamain (Muslim), Aleena (Muslim) and Jessica (Christian). The teacher concerned was not an RE specialist, but showed an open-minded commitment to global citizenship and inter-faith perspectives. She generously praised the students, who were dynamic in their response and did most of the work in creating and displaying a wonderfully colourful exhibition of words and pictures. Volunteers from years 2 and 5 helped to organize a lunchtime event in which all members of the school were invited to draw round their hands and write inside a message of peace or belief. This work was strongly encouraged by the Head of School, and is a heartening example of staff and students showing exemplary and enlightened attitudes, in a 'bottom up' approach. We are very pleased to give the Senior Youth Award to this school.
Congratulations to St Michael's Llanelli Wales for winning this year's Senior Award.
Congratulations also to Salem Youth Group in Pennsylvania USA and to Teesdale School County Durham in England UK for gaining Highly Commended Certificates.
Well done everyone!
The Junior Award
In the Junior Award section, there were many interesting projects, but not all of them reached completion, perhaps owing to the great demands on teachers to meet their many targets. Even though not all were completed, a great deal of valuable learning has taken place, and nothing is wasted: more seeds of inspiration have been sown.
In the assembly hall of the winning school in the Junior section, there is a banner suggesting: 'No-one can do everything, but everyone can do something.' This realistic and encouraging approach pervades Trallwn Primary School Swansea South Wales UK. The actual project from year 3-4 was in two parts: firstly, a wall sized mobile, made entirely from recycled materials, with letters composing words such as 'helping, caring, sharing, creating, and solving'. Each facet can be read on both sides: looked at from both sides, a healthy approach to our fellow beings. The words form a rainbow of colour. How immensely exciting, to find this inclusive, friendly ethos clearly embodied in everything the children did.
It is also a tribute to the whole school, that the project was completed in two weeks. Everything was already in place: caring attitudes towards each other, to strangers, to the planet, inspiringly symbolised by a baby doll wrapped in a blanket printed with the earth's map, its head sheltered from the rays of the sun by a bubble wrap ozone layer. In the second part of the project, each class member had a Peace Mala Dove in outline, and wrote a peace message within, relating to one of the words in the mobile. These were then presented by the teacher in a folder and arranged in themes. The entire Peace Mala project has been included in the scheme of work for Global Citizenship for that form.
The school recently received the highest grade in a recent Estyn Inspection for its care, guidance and support of learners, a third of whom are Travellers, and the school is by no means in a privileged area. Yet it has genius for affirmative action. On Friday afternoons there is a Golden Time: a reward for all the good children who have been friendly, helpful, sensible, and who have worked well in the week. In this class, this year, only one child did not make it to Golden Time and that on only one occasion. This is an outstanding tribute to the power of positive reinforcement, and the school as well as this wonderful class and its teacher, is playing a major role in preparing the citizens of tomorrow for a world with hope in its heart.
Well done, Trallwn School!
SponsorsThe Welsh Centre for International Affairs (WCIA) www.wcia.org.uk
South Wales Police (H Division, Swansea)
Gordon Down & Company www.gordon-down.co.uk
Amman Valley Complimentary Clinic
Birchgrove Inn Swansea
Mo Green www.moregreen.org.uk
Peace Mala is extremely grateful to all those who have sponsored and supported the 2007 Youth Awards.