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Paul Hillman

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Feb 22nd, Wilson Middle School NJHS Induction and Peace Pole Dedication

The morning assembly at Wilson Middle School began at 0915 with Ken Koshio, Taiko Drummer, and his team, ushering 500 students and community residents into the gym to experience the induction of the 28 NJHS students instructed by Thomas Sejen.

This was also the time to unveil and dedicate the peace pole, newly purchased with 8 languages stating "May Peace Prevail on the Earth for All".


The Mission of the Cultural Arts Coalition, Arizona: 501 (c) 3, a nonpartisan organization in existence since 2005: stimulates creative, analytical and leadership development for personal transformation and collective change through celebrations and multidisciplinary learning experiences.

During the beginning of the school year 2016-2017, Wilson Middle School Principal Cindy Campton received a proposal from the CAC in collaboration with Wilson Social Studies/NJHS after school teacher Mr. Tomas Sejen to create and facilitate a Youth Advisory Council during the 8 month school year. Last year Mr. Sejen was one of the teachers at Balsz Elementary school with the NJHS students who had already been engaged in this type of CAC Human and Leadership Development curriculum.

Example: Thank you Mr. Sejen & the National Junior Honor Society class for making such a significant contribution to the Balsz Wellness Celebration and the Balsz Promise Neighborhood Youth Advisory Council April 30th, 2016. You are All Wonderful!!! http://artsCARE.org/cac.event.bj.shtml

At The Core of this Project–Based Learning, Youth Council is multidisciplinary Programming

Program Objectives:

1. TO EXPLORE human capacities by assisting participants to identify their strengths in light of social complexity.

2. To bring PARTICIPANTS new ways of thinking, being and responding to the diverse social, cultural & environmental challenges within their families, neighborhoods & around the world.

3. TO Provide opportunities for Personal Reflection, Critical thinking, problem solving and creative self-expression through the arts as a means of communication.

This lesson unit began with the reading of the book Sadako in class the first week along with reflecting upon its message... http://artsCARE.org/peacepals.2.shtml curriculum

8th grade NJHS students in Tom Sejen's class share the story after inviting in 4th graders in the after school setting to learn about Sadako and the making of origami cranes.

A contracted artist comes into the after school NJHS class room during this second week of the lesson unit to instruct the complicated and meaningful message of the folding of a crane while the older students work alongside the 4th graders... 3rd and 4th NJHS weekly sessions of the lesson unit are reserved for the scripting for the Feb 22nd event (everyone has a role with no adults intervening) defining for the culturally relevant terms like Taiko Drumming, Sadako, Origami Peace cranes, Peace Pole, the Japanese memorial service each year to commemorate the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan and the Obon ceremony, honoring Japanese ancestors. The students also unpacked the peace pole with the 4th graders...

Art-making as Communication Yes, art-making is creative and self-expressive. And it's wonderful to have skills in visual art, music, dance, drama, architecture, gardening, cooking...any art form! The arts also have a very old purpose that grows out of our humanity – and it's almost become a secret identity. What we now call "arts" were originally the way humans communicated with each other. The symbols, gestures, objects, sounds and movements that formed the basis for the arts allowed information to be shared and remembered, even transferred from one generation to another. Even more importantly, hard to communicate ideas (what is often called "abstract thought") were first communicated with visual symbols such as beads, sound patterns like drumming, and of course movement and gesture. Art-making helps us to think about things, share with others and creatively bring new ideas to life. Dr. Melanie Ohm, Co-Founder of the CAC

The curriculum focuses on the individual and their families in a social setting, connecting youth to their cultural values, ideas and goals while respecting and honoring their voices.

** This occurs simultaneously as participating youth develop an awareness of what it means to advocate with restraint and responsible action for positive outcomes when considering specific social challenges, relevant to their lives, families and within their community.

** Communicating and "co-laboring" (collaborating) are the primary means by which humans express their thinking and accomplish daily work in a safe and democratic environment.

** In providing youth with tools and practices for experiencing positive communication (STORYTELLING) and collaboration skill sets, they convey values, ideas, interpretive beliefs, goals and actions (

"This clearly articulated Methodology introduces project-based learning with critical inquiry and problem solving strategies leading to positive outcomes, enriching capacities for human and leadership skill development for success in education and the workplace."

Judy Butzine's, Director of the CAC, role is to work alongside Mr. Sejen facilitating youth sessions with the after school NJHS, 2-3 times a month for 90 minutes each session, presenting project based learning activities that culminate in youth staging community service programming throughout the school year like the NJHS Induction and the Community Dedication of the Peace Pole...

The Cultural Arts Coalition contracted by the school to facilitate this human and leadership development curriculum for NJHS this school year engages many arts in residency individuals like Colby Jeffers, social activist and rapper, to inspire the youth to get engaged in their community through community service... " I Can You Can, We Can Change the World". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5oXgAVs250

In this final activity of the day Colby not only honors the MLK, Jr. Essay Winner for the reading she gave , but gives respect and the celebration to the NJHS Inductees for their leadership and their wisdom for our future generations...

The induction of the Wilson NJHS students...

The Wilson NJHS President asks the guests and students to stand for the pledge of the alliance to the flag.

This is followed by the NJHS leading the NJHS students in the NJHS Pledge...

Many teachers, administrative staff, students and family members stated they were overwhelmed with the two hours of activities that provided such a respectful environment, establishing a sense of cultural unity, JOY and COMPASSION for ALL into the school...

Mike Butzine is thanked for his photographs seen here...

judy butzine, Director of the CAC, is the documenter of this narrative