'No Champs without peace'
Nine schools unite to inspire peace among supporters

Ahead of the 2023 ISSA/ GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Championships, Calabar High School, in partnership with eight other schools, hosted a ‘Peace for Champs’ march on Monday.

Kingston College, Jamaica College, Wolmer's Boys', Meadowbrook High, Immaculate Conception, The Queen's School, Merl Grove and St Andrew High School for Girls were a part of the march.

The schools marched from the main gate at Calabar High on 61 Red Hills Road in St Andrew, to the flag pole on the compound, as a symbol of all the schools coming together despite the high competition across the next four days.

“It was an initiative of the interact club and head students, to bring back a Calabar tradition that was lost because of COVID,” Daniel Fraser, deputy head boy at Calabar told OBSERVER ONLINE.

“It’s important because it shows that in the midst of fierce competition, we can come together as a community to build bridges of understanding and corporation,” he continued.

Peace for Champs began in 2008 in response to violent clashes between some Corporate Area students. One such incident left four schoolboys from St George's College and Kingston College (KC) nursing injuries after being the victims of stabbings and beatings.

Raheem Hall, deputy head boy at JC said the Peace for Champs initiative is of “utmost significance” to his institution as it allows an opportunity for competitiveness while maintaining an amicable and harmonious atmosphere among student-athletes and supporters.

“We are aware that supporters tend to be overzealous and erratic at times, wherefore, we are eternally grateful for this initiative which aims to temper and relax the moods whenever it comes around to Champs time,” he told OBSERVER ONLINE.

Khijani Williams, head boy at Kingston College agreed, noting that KC understands the need and importance of promoting peace among competing schools.

“Here at Kingston College, we believe that the promotion of peace and good sportsmanship is an integral part of all that we do. Additionally, I believe that we see a need, more than ever now, for this initiative, coming out of the pandemic and identifying the violent tendencies within our schools.

“When we reflect on how this initiative came into being, we must make sure that we never end up where we started. I believe we need to have peace ambassadors within our schools and have a yearlong campaign and not limit it just to during the competition period.”

-Romardo Lyons

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