Verdun Elementary becomes Peaceful school member
by Bob Dubois October 7, 2009
Le Messager Verdun
It was a day long awaited for the past few years, as the staff and students of Verdun Elementary finally raised the flag of PSI, emblematic of being a member of Peaceful Schools International. It was also a special moment for Pastoral Animator Mary-Anne Fyckes who spearheaded this effort tirelessly the past several years.
It was a dignified occasion suitable for an elementary school, which included an afternoon filled with songs, speeches from invited guests and the moment that every awaited, when Judy Grant, coordinator of Peaceful Schools for the LBPSB, proudly proclaimed Verdun Elementary, a member of Peaceful Schools International.
PSI was founded in 2001 by Hetty Van Gurp in Halifax, after seeing a need for peace education. Miss Van Gurp was involved in her own personal tragedy as in 1991, Hetty’s older son Ben died, following an act of aggression by another student who had been bullying him at school. Ben was just 14 years old. Before founding PSI, Miss Van Gurp was involved in peace lessons in and around Halifax and then across Nova Scotia.
The afternoon began with invited guests and students from Beurling Academy under the guidance of teacher Miss Debi Dixon, who is actively involved in peer leadership at BA, going around the various classrooms and helping the VE students make paper butterflies which were to be hung later in the gym.
Miss Fyckes proudly welcomed everybody to the event and after the playing of the national anthem; then it was the opening address of VP Miss Sylvie Martin, who was standing in for Principal David Chisholm who was unable to attend on this day. After the presentation of the PSI flag by Miss Judy Grant, it was the turn of representatives of parents, staff, and two grade 6 students to make statements and pledges of peace for the school to operate in an atmosphere of peace and security. It was an afternoon for all to be proud of.