New Albany News

High school's Peace Week begins April 21

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New Albany High School's Peace Week will have a more elaborate opening ceremony than in past years when it begins April 21, said Principal Mark White.

"I've been working with the students for a number of months now, getting input on what's been done in the past, what the students want to keep and what they want to do differently," said White, who was hired as interim principal last summer when Ric Stranges left for another job.

Peace Week, which will run April 21-25, was started 15 years ago in response to the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. The intent was to create a positive, inclusive environment at the high school.

White said the students asked to increase the scope of the opening ceremony and invite the high school's next principal, Dwight Carter, to speak.

The New Albany-Plain Local school board on Feb. 24 hired Carter, the current principal of Gahanna Lincoln High School. He is expected to take over June 1 at New Albany High School.

"We asked Mr. Carter to be a guest speaker," White said. "He will give a brief introduction, talking about who he is as a person. The students wanted to get to know him."

Following the speech Monday, April 21, Carter will participate in the annual ice cream social, giving the students a chance to speak with him informally before going back to class.

That evening at 7 p.m., the students will present "Unchained," a fashion show benefiting the Unchained Movement, which helps the victims of human trafficking.

Students will model fashions during the event at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, 100 W. Dublin-Granville Road.

Advanced tickets are $45 for adults and $25 for students and seniors. Tickets will be available at the door for $50 for adults and $30 for students and seniors.

On Tuesday, April 22, all students at the high school will listen to former Ohio State University running back Maurice Clarett, who first ran into trouble early in his Buckeye career and later served time in jail. Since his release, Clarett has focused on speaking to young people, urging them not to make the same mistakes.

White said Clarett will tell the students about his experiences and encourage them to make right choices.

Juniors and seniors attend Clarett's presentation at noon in the McCoy center. The presentation will be broadcast to freshmen and sophomores in the high school gymnasium, White said.

The event is funded by the Steve and Judy Tuckerman fund at the New Albany Community Foundation and is called the Leslie H. Wexner Leadership Academy.

The academy was established through the fund in 2007 to provide leadership experiences for students.

On Wednesday, April 23, students will attend mini seminars on projects that will help others.

Speakers will be stationed throughout the school from noon to 1:30 p.m. They will talk about issues that are pertinent to the students' lives, said Kristy Venne, the high school's interim dean of students.

Venne said sessions will include an anti-dating violence walk on the track, an anti-bullying presentation and information on cancer and human trafficking fundraisers.

Venne said the sessions will be 35 minutes each and students will sign up for two sessions.

Venne said the sessions are designed to "give the students something they can take action on."

"It's a system where students get into what they are most passionate about or most interested in," she said.

Sessions will be scheduled after the students sign up so that the ones with the most interest can be held in larger spaces, Venne said.

No activities are scheduled Thursday, April 24.

Peace Week will conclude Friday, April 25, with the annual Lunch on the Lawn, which will feature games, music by students and staff members and lunch provided at a reduced rate by local vendors.

White said this year's Peace Week theme is unity and understanding diversity.

He said high school officials hope to get 100 percent participation from students and that "everyone gets something positive out of this week."

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