By José Cossa, Ph.D.
Syracuse, NY, February 25th, 2014: Sixty Seeds from Syracuse City High Schools met at Fowler High School to discuss how to build community and to advance the Seeds of Peace mission in their schools. The meeting started with four Fowler students—Cimone Jordan, Ahmanee Simmons, Nahahme Howard, and Husam Jameel—sharing their ‘spoken word’ poems springing from their involvement in the ‘Diversity Dialogue & Seeds of Peace Initiative’. The initiative is led by Erin Clarke, English Teacher at Fowler, and boasts the support of Susan Centore, Career Advisor at Fowler; Michaela Clark, English Teacher at Fowler; and, Fowler’s Principal James Palumbo.
The meeting aimed at fostering an appreciation for “responsible action on issues of concern and engaging and inspiring others to take action on behalf of their communities", a foundational goal of the Syracuse Seeds of Peace Program. Derrick Dorsey, Director of Community Wide Dialogue at InterFaith Works and a member of the Syracuse City School District Board, assured students of the indispensability of their peace-building role in their respective schools and briefed them on the challenges, fun, and meaningfulness of the Seeds of Peace summer camp experience. Mr. Dorsey held a Q&A to address questions pertaining to camp. José Cossa, Syracuse Seeds of Peace Coordinator, offered a brief elevated pitch on students’ role as ‘peacepreneurs’ in their schools and communities.
|Photo by Erin Clarke, English Teacher at Fowler|
The meeting counted with the support of adult allies in the five schools, namely Erin Clarke and Susan Centore (Fowler); Margaret Durant and Julie Popp (Corcoran); Cindy Squillace (ITC); Drisa Boyce (Nottingham); and, Erica Brier-Kennedy (Henninger). Following the talks, students met in groups, facilitated by their respective adult allies, by school—Fowler, Henninger, Corcoran, Nottingham, and ITC—and a Peer Supporter’s group. The groups discussed and prepared a presentation about what they are doing, and/or plan to do, in their school to carry forward the Seeds of Peace mission. After the students presentations, the Seeds of peace Camp online Application was launched.