Read for Peace—Work for Justice

Swan Valley High School library media specialist Kay Wejrowski connects students and the school faculty with the district, community, and beyond through a program that ties literacy and learning with social and civic minded activities.

Funded with some district money, grants, and in-kind donations, the program’s year-long projects are not just for the high school’s students. They’re for everyone at Swan Valley, students, teachers, administrators, parents, the school board, and members of local community groups. Even the state Board of Education held meetings in the school’s library to promote the program and encourage the community’s support.

One year’s theme was “Read for Peace—Work For Justice.” During the year, world history students read How Do You Kill 11 Million People? by Andy Andrews, Copper Sun by Sharon Draper, and excerpts from Woman, Child for Sale by Gilbert King. Then they discussed and explored conflicts, genocide, and the abuse of power. Industrial arts students built Adirondack chairs, which were painted with peace quotes and designs by Art department students. When sold at a charity auction, the chairs raised more than $2,400 for a local children’s advocacy and abuse prevention group. In addition, students helped pack up more than 23,000 meals for Kids Against Hunger, and others volunteered for Special Olympics programs.

Read for Peace, Work for Justice: an example of how we can teach students to take action and promote peace with positive solutions.