LEICESTER, Mass. — Students from Leicester Middle School's Peer Leadership group will attend the Anti-Defamation League's 19th Annual Youth Congress in Boston this March, where children from around New England will help envision a world without hate.
"If there are several people who step up and become leaders, I think it can happen," said eighth-grader Shane Bowes, one of 20 members of the school's peer leadership group selected to attend the student and educator workshop.
The group itself is formed of young leaders who continue to set an example for others with their grades, citizenship and discipline records, according to co-adviser and guidance counselor Mike Vaughan.
Throughout the year, the peer leaders organize a variety of projects to help give back to the community, such as singing carols at the senior or center.
For Carley Cascione, one of her favorite projects so far has been the "Nickels for St. Nicholas" fundraiser, in which the group decorated coffee cans, set them up in homerooms, and helped raise funds for children in need to receive Christmas gifts.
The focus of anti-defamation league's workshop will be to discuss and develop ways to prevent bias-related conflict in schools from escalating, and promote inter-group dialogue, understanding and respect.
"They'll get to meet with students from other schools throughout Massachusetts and learn about ways of teaching tolerance," said Vaughn. "Then they'll come back and brainstorm ideas to help improve our schools climate."