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  • “The peace garden is a place for meditation. It can hold quiet sessions and students can play there,” she said.
  • Mr. Troupe added that the initiative “represents an important tool to be used in our schools and beyond if we are serious in treating with the culture of violence in school”.
  • Second place went to George Headley Primary in Kingston, which was awarded $75,000 and a trophy, while the third place winner, Pell River Primary in Hanover, received $50,000 and a trophy.

Maryland All-Age and Upper Rock Spring All-Age and Infant Schools in Hanover took the top spot in the 2020 Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) Trees for Peace competition.

The schools were named joint winners at the awards ceremony held on Peace Day, Tuesday (March 3) at Maryland All-Age. They walked away with $100,000 each and a trophy.

Second place went to George Headley Primary in Kingston, which was awarded $75,000 and a trophy, while the third place winner, Pell River Primary in Hanover, received $50,000 and a trophy.

The competition, which was introduced by the VPA in 2018 through partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, encourages schools across the island to create peace gardens, which will serve as areas for relaxation and conflict resolution.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, chair of the VPA, Dr. Elizabeth Ward, commended the participating schools for the hard work and dedication that went into creating the gardens, noting that the spaces can go a far way in fostering peace.

“The peace garden is a place for meditation. It can hold quiet sessions and students can play there,” she said.

She noted that members of the wider community can also use the space to relax, hold discussions and resolve conflicts.

Principal of Maryland All-Age, Andria Dehany-Grant, credited the school’s victory to the hard work and tenacity of the teachers and students with the support of the wider community, while teacher at Upper Rock Spring All-Age, Nikhesia Pearce, said that the school’s peace garden will fuel a culture shift towards environmental preservation as well as foster a culture of peace among students.

For his part, Acting Director, Safety and Security Unit in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Richard Troupe, congratulated the joint winners of the competition, noting that the gardens reflect the creativity of the students and teachers involved in the projects.

“Your peace garden is more than just a space that is so beautifully designed. It’s not just a space that reflects the application of technology, waterfall and all… but it’s a place that for your school, for your parents, for your teachers, symbolises hope. It is a space and a place where we can sit together and talk out our differences [and] resolve our conflicts,” he said.

Mr. Troupe added that the initiative “represents an important tool to be used in our schools and beyond if we are serious in treating with the culture of violence in school”.

More than 60 schools at the early-childhood, primary and secondary levels participated in this year’s Trees for Peace competition.

Parish winners, who created and maintained peace gardens at their respective schools, were also recognised at the awards ceremony.

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