Lee Students Take Vow of Nonviolence; "When You Make a Change within Yourself, People Will See That ..."

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Nearly 50 students at Jacksonville's Robert E. Lee High School took a message of nonviolence to their peers Wednesday as part of an international peace movement.

The peace ambassadors are members of the "I Take The Vow" movement started by physician, writer and philosopher Deepak Chopra, who preaches a vow of "nonviolence in my thoughts, my speech and my actions." The vow requires people to tell at least two others about the movement.

The students at Lee decided to tell an entire school.

"It's going to take a while, but it has to start with that individual," said Lee senior Antoinette Wakefield, 17, who worked to spread the message on Wednesday. "If we keep promoting it and people see that it's actually going somewhere, people will eventually fall in line."

Wakefield is a member of the school's Spirit Team, student leaders recognized by their teachers as able to work across differences. The team took the vow on Tuesday.

Debra Truitt, an English coach at Lee, coordinated the effort after she learned about the vow from her niece.

"When I saw it I just got so excited about it," she said. "We thought it would be fun to do it in bigger groups and let our kids really take responsibility for it."

Wakefield and fellow senior Jamare Hall talked with a group of girls in teacher Michael King's classroom about the vow. The students exchanged stories of messy friends, unfaithful boyfriends, mean classmates and fights. …


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