A Valuable Lesson in Promoting Peace

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One day after the district’s annual Peace Concert musically and artistically relayed the message of pacifism and nonviolence throughout the community, a lesson in forgiveness was taught to students at J.W. Dodd Middle School. Breaking the Cycle is a character education program featuring firsthand accounts of individuals who experienced traumatic life events, and how forgiveness helped them triumph.

Breaking the Cycle Keynote Speakers Johann Christoph Arnold, Hashim Garrett, Charles Williams and Ann Marie D’Aliso spoke to seventh-graders about the power of forgiveness. Sharing their stories, the speakers echoed that making the right decisions, choosing good friends and not harboring feelings of hatred or resentment are paramount to leading a peaceful life. Garrett also spoke about several heroes, including Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln and Marian Fisher, and how their peace efforts impacted others. Each student also received a copy of Arnold’s book, “Why Forgive?” toward the conclusion of the program.

The Break the Cycle presentation, part of the district’s ongoing character education curriculum, served as an appropriate follow-up to the Peace Concert, while reinforcing the virtues of forgiveness and living a peaceful lifestyle.