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April 7, 2010 > San Leandro High celebrates Cesar Chavez Day

San Leandro High celebrates Cesar Chavez Day

Submitted By Claudia Medina
Photos By Lycette Kintanar

On March 31, San Leandro High School students held a news conference to mark the end of the schoolâs 2010 âSeason of Service, Period of Peace.â This 10-week period, between Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Cesar Chavez Day, focuses on a time when students engage in service-learning and community service projects to promote peace on campus and within the community. This yearâs effort involved nearly 800 students and resulted in the third year of decline in violence and tensions on school campus.

The conference included a multimedia presentation of this yearâs âSeason of Serviceâ (SOS) projects, a student panel discussion of the impact SOS has had on the school, and a special presentation of awards to student leaders by Sheila Jordan, Superintendent of Alameda County Schools, and Linda Granger, principal of San Leandro High School. Anthony Chavez, grandson of Cesar Chavez, provided the keynote address.

For a third year in a row, student leaders at San Leandro High School dedicated their time and talents to serve the community and promote peace. Students engaged in activities that challenged them to discover how to work with others to promote communication and understanding through a variety of activities including: fasting, publicity posters, peace poetry, art, a peace march and assembly to middle school students, a food drive, peace quilts, cranes and ribbons, non-violence flyers and peace signs hung from trees.

âSeason of Service, Period of Peaceâ is a collaborative project of the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) and the San Leandro Unified School District. Teachers and students reported a decrease in violence and tensions on the SLHS campus.

âACOE is proud to partner with San Leandro Unified School District on this service learning project through our School Community Violence Prevention grant,â said Sheila Jordan, Superintendent of Alameda County Schools. âI want to salute San Leandro High School students for their courage to support non-violence and peace within their school and community. We applaud their creative leadership to effect change by educating the community about improved communication among fellow classmates. Above all, we are proud of them for believing that if peace is to happen it starts within each individual.â

Among the highlights, the press conference included a video presentation by San Leandro Academy for Multi-Media (SLAM) students who created multi-media service projects to raise awareness on child and domestic abuse, neglect, and violent crime. Videos can be found on the schoolâs website: http://bit.ly/bsZAv3.

Organizers and student leaders worked hard to raise the level of visibility of the project. So far, their hard work seems to be paying off. Organizers say the increased participation during the 10-week period reflects success in reducing violence on campus. Suspensions at the school due to fights have been reduced by 40 percent. School staff and administrators attribute the trend to the series of awareness activities and events to engage students, improve their communication and sensitivity and, ultimately, their participation in violent behavior.

âSan Leandro High School is a real melting pot. This is a cohesive group of supportive students; I am seeing less and less fights or conflicts in school. The students are really forging their own school cultureâone of respect and acceptance,â said Linda Granger, Principal, San Leandro High School. âI am really proud of their dedication and commitment to promoting peace and communication among their peers and within the community.â

âSeason of Service, Period of Peace,â is a project of the Alameda County Office of Education with âSchool Community Violence Preventionâ (SCVP) grant support from the California Department of Education. The Season of Service is coordinated by Evan Goldberg, Service Learning Coordinator for the Alameda County Office of Education and San Leandro High School staff members Phil Hargrave, Ari Dolid, and Nic Knudsen.

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