Rotary’s World Peace Dinner Engages Local Teens

Catherine Adams ('21), Co-Editor

On Wednesday February 12th, the Northeast Rotary District joined forces with PeaceJam, in an event to promote peace in the community.  The evening was a dinner held at Spinelli’s Function hall with food, games, and fun. Each table was divided by town and was led by a student leader.  Reading, having a small group in attendance, joined forces with Stoneham to create a peace project. 

The night started with icebreakers and introductions, followed by the lavish dinner and delightful conversation.  Afterwards, speakers from PeaceJam introduced the task at hand which was to make the community a better place, one step at a time.  The mission was open-ended, except the notion that the project had to be achievable and realistic. Each group had 45 minutes to come up with their project and plans for fundraising/getting resources.  

The Stoneham/Reading group came up with an idea fairly quickly after brainstorming the problems in the community.  The table found problems in both Reading and Stoneham High Schools with bullying, disrespect, and a lack of understanding among students.  

The goal of the project: help students have a better understanding of their surroundings and peers.  With this, the table came up with an event to be held at Stoneham High School, that practices peace and understanding among students, hoping to create unity.

The idea is simple, a “cross the line” activity for high school students, where tough issues would be brought up and those who identify or relate to the idea should step forward.  But there is more than that: once the group is standing in front of everyone, individuals from the group get to share how they are misunderstood or hurt and what can be done to help.  The goal of the project would be to have students understand what each is going through behind closed doors to bring kids closer to each other.  

The plan is similar to Parker and Coolidge Middle Schools’ “Challenge Day” that are intended to bring students together.  This project hopes to change the mindset of students to be more open and understanding. Three leaders from Stoneham and one from Reading will now work together to try to make this event come to life.  

The Orbit will update on the event and the results of the event.  Stay tuned for more information.