Peace and justice fair spreads awareness

Meredith Gallagher

Students in the Social Justice classes packed the Great Hall with poster boards, hand-outs, food, and even a few dogs. Held on January 9 and including over 100 students, this was the fair’s largest showing to date.
“I think it’s important to remind ourselves about the world around us,” said Mr. Joel Loecken, the religion teacher who teaches the four Social Justice classes and had the idea for the Fair six years ago. “We need to remember the good things people are doing to help.”

With more students partaking in the fair this year than any other, the Social Justice classes represented 54 different organizations. Students were allowed to work with a partner or alone, and each group had to pick an organization that supported a cause they felt strongly about it. Students chose topics on everything from sexual abuse to global warming to the Humane Society.

Junior Kaileen Kraemer chose the Rainn Organization, a group that works to prevent sexual assault and spread awareness. “I knew about the organization beforehand and wanted to represent it,” she said. “The project  is easier if you feel strongly about your cause.”

Junior Alana Profit and senior Alyssa Nation chose to represent the World Wildlife Fund, an organization that protects endangered species. “It made sense because I like animals,” said Profit. Along with Rice Crispie bars, the group also brought in Profit’s dog, a 3-year-old Shiba Inu, Mocha, to represent their cause. This particular breed of dog, originally from Japan, was endangered in the 1940s during World War II.

The students were assigned their projects at the beginning of December and had to turn them in the day after Christmas Break. On top of a poster board that explained their topic and presented their organization, each group was required to bring in handouts, anything from t-shirts to frisbees, that had the name of the organization on it to pass out to students.

In the spring, the second semester Social Justice classes will put on a Peace and Justice Fair for the junior high.