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Peace Week 2022

by Mr. Christian Garretson & Ms. Debbie Klongtruadroke

Ruamrudee International School celebrated Peace Week from Monday, September 19 to Friday, September 23. The week culminated with an All-School Peace Assembly, followed by a special meeting with visiting students from the Pattaya Redemptorist Technological College for People with Disabilities.

What started as a Town-Hall-style meeting quickly became a sharing of the arts with drama games, songs, and many honest conversations about the difficulties and challenges of living with disabilities, family life, favorite bands and movies, dream jobs. The list goes on.

A heart for music led the choir students and me to share in the universal language of song which indeed connected us and allowed our visitors to shine and our voices to come together harmoniously. As a new teacher at RIS, this is one extraordinarily special experience that will linger in my heart and in my memory.” —Ms. Jennifer Forsland, MS/HS music teacher

Soon it became apparent that the differences were few and there were far more similarities between the students in our two schools. Students from the ages of 5 to 21 sat on the floor in a concert atmosphere and played music, sang, joked, laughed together, asked questions, and formed friendships.

“Our KG students not only showed empathy and curiosity with our guests, but willingly and happily interacted with them without any persuasion and prompt. They had an amazing experience singing and playing games.” —Ms. Nusrat Karim, KG teacher

Below are a variety of comments, experiences, and reactions from RIS students and faculty members who attended the meeting:

“It was inspiring to see our guests live their lives happily and worry-free, even though they have disabilities. I look forward to doing something like this again!” —Claire de Lune, Grade 5

“They were so good at doing things, even with disabilities. If I can, I would like very much to help them!” —Linin, Grade 5

“The event was awesome and I hope we do this again. I saw everybody laughing with joy and happiness! I loved how we included everyone in the activities and games so that all the attendees would have fun.” —Sam, Grade 7

“During the activity I came to this realization—there are underprivileged people in this world, whether disabled or not. I feel privileged to have what I have, and also ashamed of the fact that these people, who were given less than me, sometimes work harder than me.” —Aaron, Grade 9

“I thoroughly enjoyed the colloquial time spent with them after all the ‘formalities.’ I heard the stories of the visitors, and upon hearing about the way society treats them as different, I felt somewhat angry.” —Samarth, Grade 11

“It was an amazing experience to have our guests and our students learn about how we can live our lives EQUALLY, even though we have different conditions. I hope that we can continue doing this kind of activity.” —Ms. Zoila Alvarez, ES Values Teacher

It is invigorating to see how easily our students can connect with others, no matter the background. My biggest takeaway, though, is that when we see each other we should really stop to see each other. When we do that, we stop seeing others as ‘others,’ and just more of ‘us.'” —Dr. Nathan Meisner, HS Assistant Principal

Mr. Jafferali Mussa, the K-12 Head of Department for Religion and Values and ideator of this visit, eloquently stated that RIS students embodied the spirit of the school’s ethos, Union of Hearts, through compassion and empathy as they built  powerful and long lasting relationships with our friends from Pattaya. The love shared between the two groups of students, manifesting the Heart component of our Principles of Phoenix, was truly impressive. 

He added, in conclusion, a statement which showed the sentiment that resonated through all the activities and events that took place at RIS during Peace Week: ‘Building relationships with diverse groups of humanity is truly a recipe for peace for our planet.’