Peer Mediation Programme a success at Cunupia Secondary

If one was asked to describe Cunupia Secondary School in one word, the only one suitable to properly capture this learning institution and its experiences would be resilience. This student population has withstood the test of time and overcome many obstacles within the last three years, since the inception of the Peer Mediation Programme at the school.

The school has been affected by diverse issues including the closure of the school on two occasions for a considerable period of time.  These events no doubt, hampered the delivery of the school curriculum and hindered the rate at which students progressed in their quest for academic knowledge. These developments also impacted on the effective implementation of the Peer Mediation Programme at the school.

The efforts of the past principal, Mr. David Ramsundar, are noteworthy in appealing to the Community Mediation Services Division to remain committed to partnering with the school in the midst of the challenges faced. Peer Mediation Training for students was delayed on at least three occasions, with the gap widening in the number of functioning peer mediators at the school as each school year ended. The school also saw transfer of the then Peer Mediation Co-coordinator, Ms. Venus Panchoo, to another location; however, the impact was not felt since the opening was immediately filled by Ms. Maurisia Forde who  has been diligently working towards the Programme  reaching its  potential for  the school.

The school year 2018/ 2019, provided a renewed sense of hope in the eyes of students, who decided to take charge and determine the course of events. The enthusiasm of both students and parents from the time of sensitisation for upcoming training helped in building the momentum. The training of new students was finally held from January 14th to January 18th 2019, after being deferred from September 2018.  Thirty three students successfully completed Peer Mediation Training, with six active peer mediators being involved in the process. Students were ready to demonstrate and apply their skills in communication, conflict resolution and mediation by referring matters for mediation as soon as the training ended.

Training completed, the peer mediators re-kindled their zeal to see change in their school, with plans to acquire jerseys, to identify themselves amongst their peers and in the community at the Sports Day held on February 22, 2019 and the 5K Fun Run held on February 28, 2019. The Community Mediation Services Division supported their enthusiastic efforts, approving the sponsorship of their Peer Mediation Jerseys in the face of their own fundraising efforts within the school. Students truly appreciated this gesture and were willing to give greater commitment to the functioning of the Peer Mediation Programme at the school.

A Classroom Peace Promotion Competition was also launched as an annual event in the form of a poster competition. On Monday 11th March, 2019, during the school’s morning assembly a Challenge Trophy sponsored by the Division was awarded to Form Class 1.3 for their Outstanding Promotion of Peace utilising the theme “Talk it out, doh fight it out!” Twenty students also received their peer mediation badges during assembly to officially function as the peacekeepers within the school.

Notwithstanding all the setbacks experienced, the peer mediators of Cunupia Secondary School serve as an inspiration of what great effort can yield when the youth are ignited to create a country where peace, mutual respect and tolerance are embedded nationally.