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Peace One Day: A Moment Of Reflection In The Hustle Of A Busy World

Gathered for Peace One Day, the entire school population heard the words, music and reflections of adults and students around the theme of choice, service and peace.
photo provided
Gathered for Peace One Day, the entire school population heard the words, music and reflections of adults and students around the theme of choice, service and peace.
Fire Cadets and VUHS Seniors Trevor Patterson and Abbie Stearns spoke about commitment, service and remembrance of those lost at 9-11.
photo provided
Fire Cadets and VUHS Seniors Trevor Patterson and Abbie Stearns spoke about commitment, service and remembrance of those lost at 9-11.
Senior Casey Brinkman challenged the group to think about our
photo provided
Senior Casey Brinkman challenged the group to think about our " pale blue dot " we call home and how each of us impact it and life on it.

Tuesday September 25, 2012

By Cookie Steponaitis

    With the rising of the sun heralding another crisp fall morning, the ebb and flow of adults and teens at VUHS continues as normal. Smiles, hugs and quick conversations are fitted into the passing of time, the ringing of the bell and movement of a school day. Focused on studies, sports, musicals, jobs, college applications, and family and friends, the building hums with a focus and drive, but time does not permit a collective gathering and reflection. However, on Friday, September 21st the entire school population paused for the seventh year in a row to sing, speak, debate and ponder the message of peace in their lives, world and choices as members of humanity.

    “I had an epiphany,” declared senior Casey Brinkman addressing the entire group. “I realized that the pale blue dot we call our home is all we have and how we choose to impact it is a conscious decision we each make each day.” The senior and one of the organizers of the event went on to challenge the group to, “…think beyond the moment, the school day and even themselves to what is possible and what can be accomplished in the name of peace.”  Many teens and adults joined event organizers VUHS students Casey Brinkman, Mary Langworthy, Siobhan  Haggett and faculty advisor Glenn Story and spoke, read and played pieces that expressed their own views and feelings about the realization that peace and acceptance are learned and can be practiced daily.

    Standing at attention by the school flagpole were the members of the Addison, Vergennes and Ferrisburgh Fire Cadets who opened the school gathering with a moment of peace and dedication to the 343 firemen that died serving others at the Twin Towers on 9/11. Seniors Trevor Patterson and Abby Stearns not only led the school in a salute to the flag, but challenged them to remember that, “…to serve is an action of peace. As cadets we are learning through training in our departments to be the first to respond, to assist and to restore order. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing we are ready to take action to save a life, a home and to secure the safety of those who need us.”

    As the minutes passed and the presentations continued, the faces of the group became more intensely reflective and focused. Not responding to the bells and the hurry and bustle of a modern world schedule, they listened and thought. No one tweeted, no one texted, and some even paused to link hands and sing along; a bit old fashioned in this world of instant communication, but a link to each other and the potential of people who take time, reflect and act. Now an annual event at VUHS, Peace One Day is an international movement gaining ground and scope around the planet, focusing people and taking that all important step to stop, reflect, and entertain more than the possibility of peace, but the realization that all great journeys begin with one step, one decision and one moment to do more than move through life and simply exist, but to be. That was the message of Peace One Day at VUHS on a beautiful fall morning and one with messages that carry far beyond a school assembly and into the minds and hearts of people everywhere.


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