Thu | Jun 24, 2021

An 11-y-o's vision for peace

Published:Wednesday | June 27, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Brandon McKenzie (right) with grade-six colleagues at Sts Peter and Paul Preparatory School yesterday. - Photos by Rudolph Brown/Photographer
Brandon McKenzie and his principal, Karen Siyanbola, examine the peace wall at Sts Peter and Paul Preparatory School in St Andrew yesterday. The peace wall was a promise delivered by Brandon, the outgoing head boy, who will be taking his place at Campion College next term. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer
Deacon Christopher Gooden, chairman of the board of governors of Sts Peter and Paul Preparatory School, blesses the Peace Wall at the school yesterday.
Brandon McKenzie and his principal, Karen Siyanbola, examine the peace wall at Sts Peter and Paul Preparatory School in St Andrew yesterday. The peace wall was a promise delivered by Brandon, the outgoing head boy, who will be taking his place at Campion College next term. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer
Students view the Peace Wall at their school in St Andrew.
Brandon McKenzie (centre) poses with (from left) Karen Siyanbola, principal; Dr Coretta Brown-Johnson, psychologist; Carel Dookie and Erica Saddler.
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Sts Peter and Paul Preparatory School on Old Hope Road in St Andrew will long remember Brandon McKenzie.

Not because he's an outstanding student. Not because he's the head boy; but because of an exciting project he conceptualised for his school - a Peace Wall.

Dozens of his grades five and six colleagues, teachers, school administrators and parents witnessed the unveiling of the Peace Wall at the institution yesterday morning during regular devotion.

Brandon, 11, who is heading to Campion College at the start of the new school year in September, wants to see a peaceful atmosphere at school daily, hence his peace project.

Brandon's Peace Wall idea was a promise made during the campaign to elect the school's head boy and head girl last year. He delivered on his promise when, along with Principal Karen Siyanbola and board chairman, Deacon Christopher Gooden, he unveiled the Peace Wall done by grade-six students.

CREATING AN INFLUENCE

"A few times during my school years, I have seen people fighting instead of just remaining calm and coming to an agreement," said Brandon. "For my head boy campaign, I did not want to just give orders to people. I wanted to influence and make them improve, make them learn more about self-control," said Brandon, a grade 6-5 student coached by Everyl Cornwall.

Principal Siyanbola told the students that the wall will be a permanent reminder to the school population of the importance of peace. She hopes that each year grade-six students will add messages of peace as their legacy at Sts Peter and Paul Prep.

The principal heaped praise on the Guidance Counselling Department, led by Dr Coretta Brown-Johnson, clinical behavioural specialist-psychologist; the Visual Arts Department, teachers and parents for their roles in making the project a reality.

Erica Saddler, visual arts teacher, is overjoyed that Brandon's idea has come to fruition.

"Students spent time creating their designs and coming up with their own concepts of how they saw peace. As a teacher, I am very proud of them. When I look on the wall now, I can say it is a breathtaking experience, knowing that at their level they were able to capture such a beautiful image," said Saddler.

The wall consists of 68 tiles and took three months to create. Grade-six students created 66 of those tiles and the other two were done by teachers. Saddler described the process as an exciting one as the students enjoyed mixing the paint, creating new colours and working as a team.

"The students learnt the value of peace throughout the process and the symbols that represent peace, such as the colours and what they mean. Each tile represents a different element of peace," she explained.