tabling at Buffalo Grove HS 11/11/2015

Due to an unfortunate scheduling conflict (a funeral) I switched my day at BGHS and was there on Veterans Day. Having a big sign with the caption "Today is Armistice Day. What is Armistice Day?" seemed to attract more visitors. We were pleased to find out that many of the students knew about Armistice Day. It appears it was discussed in social studies. Unfortunately many had not heard of the Kellogg-Briand Pact; including several teachers. But to be fair, I had not heard of the Kellogg-Briand Pact until a few years ago and it was because the West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition sponsors a peace essay contest every year with the pact as the focus.

Included below is the text of the handout we distributed:

What is Armistice Day?

Armistice Day is November 11

The Armistice of 1918 ended the terrible slaughter of World War I. The U.S. alone had experienced the death of over 116,000 soldiers, plus many more who were physically and mentally disabled. For one moment, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the world agreed World War I would be the war to end all wars.

On June 1, 1954, Congress changed the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

In 1918, after Armistice Day, a 10-year campaign launched that year resulted in the ratification of the Kellogg-Briand Pact which legally banned all war making. 

What is the Kellogg-Briand Pact?

The Kellogg-Briand Pact was a 1928 international agreement in which signatory states promised not to use war to resolve “disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them.” Parties failing to abide by this promise “should be denied of the benefits furnished by this treaty.” It was signed by Germany, France and the United States on August 27, 1928, and by most other nations soon after. Theoretically it is still in effect today.


tabling at Wheeling HS November 10, 2015

This time I decided I needed something to attract the students to my table so since it was the day before Armistice Day (aka Veterans Day) I made a sign that said "Tomorrow is Armistice Day. What is Armistice Day?" Most of the students that wandered over had not heard of Armistice Day but they had heard of Veterans Day. And most were mildly amused to realize that, when the armistice was signed, the point was to avoid any future wars. Everyone agreed that they would not use war to resolve conflict.

Hard to believe that we signed such an agreement.

The sign did help spark some discussion which was the goal. I had an interesting conversation with two young Hispanic students who had contrasting opinions on the effectiveness of war. One young man said that the wars we've been involved in recently are making us stronger and safer from terrorism. His friend took the position that they were only building up hatred and resentment of the United States and we would be better served by not interferring.


tabling at Elk Grove HS November 5, 2015

Tabling was a bit slow last Thursday, aside from the cake shots donated from a local bakery and being sold as a fund raiser for needy kids … then three young male students walked over wondering what my table was about and why I was there.

So, I asked my usual question ”are any of you thinking of joining the military?” One young man spoke up and said he and one of his friends were planning on joining. So my next question was “why?” – then I shut up and waited to hear what they had to say.

It was the usual - my grandfather was in the military, my uncles were too so I’m planning to enlist. “Why?” - to serve my country …

Then we talked a bit about how his grandfather was drafted and maybe his uncles too and he now has the ability to make his mom very happy and break the cycle.

I explain we’re not against the military; just want the students of D214 to make that decision after they’ve gone to community college, trade school or a university…mentioning how their brains aren’t developed until they’re at least age 25. Then ask the question “What if you waited to make that decision until you’re age 24/25 instead of at age 18? Do you think you’ll still make the same decision then? If you’re not sure; why commit yourself to eight years in the military?”

They think about that for a minute and I say “look. You’re sophomores now – you have a long time to think about it. Will you at least give it more thought over the next two years and allow that maybe you’ll decide against it?”

They agree that “yes, you made a good point”

So, they have some candy and go on their way ~

tabling at WHS October 13, 2015

Almost everybody who walked past my table at Wheeling High School today ignored me.  There was no interest in the Power Point presentation about folks from Illinois who have been killed in war in Iraq or Afghanistan.  BUT there were some interesting encounters.

3 young women came by and enjoyed some candy.  2 said they had no interest in the military.  The third was quieter and took brochures about what girls need to know about the military, and about militarization being anti-women.

A teacher (maybe a sub?) came by and thought I was a military recruiter.  I quickly corrected her assumption and told her about our organization and what we do.  She was interested and wanted to know about our meeting time and place.  I gave her a brochure about our group.   She has our web site URL.   She also took some of our other brochures, including the ones about women, and the one about "son ocho anos de tu vida."  I don't have any more of those in English, by the way.

I didn't talk with a lot of people, but I think what I did was important for a couple of them.


tabling at PHS October 6, 2015

Prospect High School was very slow today. It was  homecoming week and so it was quite a zoo. Today the seniors were dressed in togas. The juniors appeared to be dressed as 80's aerobics instructors. At least that's what I'm thinking. In any event, it was a zoo and the focus clearly was elsewhere.

However, the buttons were a huge hit. And so were my lollipops.

The biggest surprise was that over the summer they reconfigured the entryway. Most of the schools are doing this; with the intent, I'm told, of creating a more controlled and secure entrance. Students now have to show their student ID to get in the building although teenagers being teenagers . . .I was told by one of the staff that they rushed the construction to finish before school started and, as a result, paid a lot of money. Prospect is also building a swimming pool.

For several years our tabling dates have appeared on the TV screen that sits in the cafeteria. I don't know who started this; we did not request it; and the tradition has continued even though my contact at the school in the College and Career Counseling Center has changed. Here is the picture, taken directly from our website:

IMG 0623

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