by Brissa Reyes
The Reedley High School Students for Peace Club is much more than your average club on campus. This is a group of young and bright individuals with an array of interests, from all grade levels, who share one common goal: how can peace be achieved? With this goal in mind, the club aims to inform their peers of injustices and issues locally and globally. From environmentalism to immigration, there is always a topic ready for discussion. Although Kings River Life published another article about Students For Peace just last year, there is much more to know about the enthusiastic objectives they are hoping to achieve. With many great projects and programs in the works, the students are determined to make a positive change this year in any way they can.
The club’s advisor and Reedley High’s famous Calculus teacher, Don Friesen, is truly passionate about the peaceful agenda. He is dedicated to informing and educating students of injustices and the real meaning behind the idea of nonviolent action and peace in society. It is also led by Jennifer Moore and Alexander Busch who encourage students and feel strong about the causes, too. Every week there is a program that focuses on a certain topic—many which are recommended by students. Last year the club had a busy year as they focused on a Sustainability project that encouraged the use of reusable water bottles and better recycling habits. This year the club is hoping to carry on this project, mostly by advocating the importance of them and informing the student body of the vile ways of plastic water bottles.
On top of this, they are hoping to take on a project that will provide aid to the homeless in the community. Led by Lorena Orozco, the club will focus on fundraising and collecting donations for those in need. With her final year at RHS, she hopes to make an impact and to help those in need as much as she can. Another exciting event is an open art contest! This will involve students submitting art ideas for a mural on campus walls involving a certain theme of peace or recycling.
Many members are excited about these projects. Kobe Gonzalez says, “I’m looking forward to the art project the most, especially that it is open to everyone! I feel like it will bring in more members and show other students that it is more than a discussion club and really attract people to our cause.”
An event currently in the works and one that was extremely successful three years ago, is a dress-up as a peacemaker day. On this day the club members will dress up as their favorite peaceful advocate, and students will be able to donate as much money they would like to a good cause (such as the Marjaree Mason Center). They can even take a selfie with them if they wish! The first time the club held an event of this kind (in 2015) their peers responded with overwhelming support and encouragement. Lots of money was raised to help an exchange student collect money for mosquito nets for children in his home country of Nigeria.
The optimism of the club is truly inspiring and talking to individuals it is evident that they enjoy every minute participating in this group. Brianna Rodriguez, a Senior this year, expresses her thoughts on joining the club, “There are so many positive things to say about this organization, but I’d say it’s most defining feature is the people. When I’m in a meeting and I look around at all of these people who truly care about our cause, I feel relieved to know that there are people like this out there. I cannot say how grateful I am to have joined this organization and be surrounded by all of these wonderful people.”
Although it is just a high school club, the people and their hearts are what make their positive impact so significant. This group of students are motivated and committed to these optimistic ideas. After all, you do not need a multitude of people to make a difference, peace starts with yourself.