Young people serve as a shining example of how education can be a catalyst for change

This editorial is the opinion of Morgan Hill Life

In a world often marred by conflict and discord, we take heart to see institutions dedicated to nurturing the ideals of peace. Mount Madonna School, which many South Valley young people attend, is one such beacon of hope. On Thursday, Sept. 21, the students and staff will take action towards encouraging a global civilization free of wars by commemorating the International Day of Peace.

The United Nations designated the twenty-first day of September as an annual event devoted to “strengthening the ideals of peace” through 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. Mount Madonna, nestled in the picturesque landscape of the Santa Cruz range, has chosen to mark this day with a commemorative event from 9:30 to 10:15 am. It serves not merely as a symbolic gesture, but a profound commitment to fostering peace.

As all preschool through grade 12 students gather in the school’s Assembly Room, they will engage in reading peace poems from various spiritual traditions and singing songs of unity. It’s a moment that encapsulates the essence of the International Day of Peace, transcending boundaries and differences to embrace the universal desire for a more peaceful world.

The school’s Head, Ann Goewert, stress the importance of this day, emphasizing that it’s an opportunity for students to reflect on peace within themselves and their communities, both local and global. It’s a reminder that peace isn’t an abstract concept; it’s a force that can manifest through individual actions.

“Actions of peace are powerful and a single act can make a significant and lasting difference,” she said in a press release from the school.

Under the theme “Actions for peace: Our ambition for the #GlobalGoals,” the school acknowledges the individual and collective responsibility we all bear in nurturing peace. These words resonate deeply in a world plagued by conflict, inequality, and environmental crises.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres echoes this urgency, noting that war, conflict, and inequality are threatening the very fabric of our societies. In such turbulent times, the quest for peace becomes more vital than ever.

“War and conflict are unleashing devastation, poverty and hunger, and driving tens of millions of people from their homes,” he is quoted in the press release. “Climate chaos is all around. And even peaceful countries are gripped by gaping inequalities and political polarization.”

Mount Madonna’s commitment to peace is further exemplified by the involvement of special guest Tenzin Chogkyi. With a background deeply rooted in Buddhism, she brings a unique perspective on nonviolence and actions for peace. Her journey, from meditation to monastic ordination, is a testament to the transformative power of inner peace.

We can all follow Tenzin’s example through her life’s work in compassion cultivation and emotional balance. Her efforts serve as testament to her dedication to nurturing a more peaceful world. Her involvement in interfaith collaboration and conflict resolution underscores the importance of dialogue and understanding in the pursuit of peace.

As the children and staff join hands at Mount Madonna in commemorating the International Day of Peace, let us also reflect on our individual roles in fostering peace within ourselves, our communities, and the world. In unity, we can turn the dream of a more peaceful world into a reality. We encourage all residents of the South Valley region to take a moment and mark Sept. 21 as a day to reflect on humanity’s pursuit of peace. We hope that faith groups might join together in meditation and prayer to promote the pursuit of peace.

Many of the people here in the South Valley have a familial and ethnic connection to the nation of Ukraine. No doubt they are now personally impacted by the injustice of Russia’s invasion of their homeland. They fear the death of friends and family as well as the destruction of communities they have a connection to. The war seems as if it does not have a near end, and there is a clear and present danger, with the insanity of Russia’s authoritarian leader, it might spread to other European countries. We face a real possibility that the U.S. military might find itself sending American troops to fight on the frontlines.

Mount Madonna School deserves commendation for its unwavering commitment to peace. In a time often dominated by headlines of conflict and strife, the students and staff are a shining example of how education can serve as a catalyst for change. Through their actions, they remind us all that peace is not an abstract dream but a tangible goal that can be achieved through collective effort.