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Jan 22, 2013

Purnell School Hosts Annual Peace and Justice Weekend

Purnell Students enjoyed another action packed Peace and Justice Weekend that extended into the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.

Purnell Students enjoyed another action packed Peace and Justice Weekend that extended into the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. With events and trips all day Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and performances both on Saturday and Sunday evenings, students were exposed to a wide variety of genres and topics including respect, diversity and tolerance.

Freshman Emily Pollack felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to go to both College of New Jersey’s Museum of Tolerance on Saturday and then the Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Monday. “It’s important for schools to have a weekend like this—it’s one thing to learn about Dr. King, and what happened back then,” said Pollack, “but it’s also important to learn what we can do now to make sure things are still changing. We were talking about the future of diversity during these trips and that’s really important.”

Several workshops were offered on campus as well, including one led by Jenny Woods, founder of Musicians on a Mission, an organization that helps musicians sponsor benefit concerts for important charity work. “I really like music,” said sophomore Cathy Zhang, “and it was cool how Jenny could take her love and use it for something so worthwhile.” Other workshops included Jena Campbell, of Olof Palme Orphanage in Tanzania, and a life coaching Atrio Workshop "Creating From Self: The Leader in You."

The whole weekend culminated in an extravagant International Banquet celebrating the diversity of our own Purnell population. Students and faculty prepared and shared special dishes from many cultural heritages including Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Caribbean and Latin American. Junior Fuxue Yang of China remarked about her positive feelings of the day, “For me, I’m Chinese, so to do this and get to chat with the crew in the kitchen and have them teach me a lot of things about cooking and at the same time I get to improve my English. It’s such a great day.” Yajing Wang, also from China added laughing, “It’s a good way to taste other countries’ food without having to go to a restaurant.” Wang continued more solemnly then, “We have fun cooking but then when we see everybody eating what we’ve made, we feel so proud.”

While mandatory event-filled weekends such as this are an enormous amount of work for the Residential Life staff and faculty, the rewards are numerous. Mirna Valerio, Spanish teacher and dorm parent said, “It's really important for our entire Purnell community to witness, experience, and participate in the varying expressions of peace and justice whether it be through attending a peace and justice themed performance, volunteering, watching and discussing a film, or by participating in a self-awareness workshop.”

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