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Hart students focus on peace

Posted: September 11, 2008 10:29 p.m.
Updated: November 13, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Students at Hart High School sign a peace declaration, Thursday at the Newhall campus during a ceremony held in conjunction with the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Hart High School students gathered around the peace pole Thursday to recommit themselves to another year of the peaceful resolution of campus differences.

The 10-foot pole, engraved on each side with messages of peace, was installed one year ago in Hart’s central courtyard to serve as a symbol of the school’s commitment to recognizing student diversity.

"I believe it has become a point of focus on campus — a symbol of our commitment to peace," said Assistant Principal Larry Oshodi, who was instrumental in bringing the peace pole to campus. "It is a constant reminder that we are a Hart family and we will go through difficulties like any family but we will work them out amicably and to the satisfaction of all parties."

Associated Student Body President Melissa Toledo encouraged students to recommit themselves to peace by signing a pledge printed on posters throughout the courtyard.

"Let your voice be heard by signing your class posters, so that the call for peace embraces the entire world," Melissa said. "The world is counting on you. Hart High is counting on you."

Matt Barrera signed the pledge on the senior poster.

"I think that the peace pole stands as a symbol and is the first step in bringing unity to the whole world," Matt said. "If we start with the young people, we can build up from there."

Hart Principal Collyn Nielsen sensed a change in the campus atmosphere.

"I’ve noticed a raised awareness with our kids and now when we have issues arise on campus, I hear kids mention the peace pole and I think it has made a difference," Nielsen said. "Last year was a great year as far as relationships on campus and we’re off to a great start this year as well."

Hart High administrators and students established a club called Change of Hart and organized activities to foster a new campus culture after deputies clad in riot gear were called to the campus in May 2006 to quell a racial brawl that had broken out at the school.


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