NEW FAIRFIELD – As a nation, we are currently in a time of great social and political stress. These stresses are not only ones that affect the voting adults of our country, but the children too. In response to these socio-political issues, New Fairfield High School student Nicole Cennamo created a club called Peace Project. The club was started in June of 2015 and works to spread awareness of different cultures, beliefs, and lifestyles, and to create a peaceful and accepting environment in our high school and our community.
Since the start of the club almost two years ago, Nicole and the co-VPs Caitlin Mahon and Summer Perratti have organized numerous events in the name of peace and equality. This coming Friday, Peace Project is holding Culture Shock Day at the school, a day in dedicated to showing the beauty of ethnic diversity through food, art, and music. Students are invited to make a dish that represents their own heritage, or that of an indigenous or underrepresented culture, and bring it in to be shared among students. The club would greatly appreciate any food donations from local businesses to help with their cause to celebrate our ethnic diversity. To donate you can contact Nicole Cennamo at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (203)-885-8417.
Last month on International Women’s day, the club ran an entire day of events to commemorate the movement for women’s rights. They designed presentations about influential women for teachers to show in their classes to celebrate the achievements of these amazing women, and to inspire girls all throughout the school. Along with the celebration of these historically significant women, every female staff member received a certificate of appreciation and a carnation. Additionally, $1 buttons were sold throughout the day to fund an organization run by NFHS student Cora Ruiz, which provides women in need with feminine products. Over $200 was raised that day.
Another event held by NFHS Peace Project is LGBT Pride Month, which takes place every June in the United States. LGBT Pride Month is celebrated each year in the month of June in honor of the Stonewall riots in Manhattan. Last year, to celebrate and bring awareness to LGBT Pride Month, the club did chalk art in front of the school. As students walked in the next day, they were welcomed by the colorful drawings, reminding them of the importance of peace and equality. The club also sold rainbow bracelets, which represent the LGBT pride flag, as well as cupcakes for 1$. Over $200 was raised, and the proceeds were donated to the True Colors foundation, which works to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, and to create a world in which all young people can be their true selves.
NFHS Peace Project’s events may all take place right here in town, but their message of equality has spread much further than New Fairfield High School. Last year, student created Peace Poles, wooden planks that the students painted to express their beliefs on peace, acceptance, kindness, and equality. These peace poles are traded with nations all over the world. We send our ideas and beliefs to a nation through our poles, and in return, we learn about them and what they believe when we receive their poles. Currently, Peace Project is in the process of trading poles with a school from Senegal.
By Blair Snyder, Student Reporter