AMHERST – For a split second you could hear a pin drop, followed by a ruckus so loud it shook the room.
© Christopher Goooding photo
Cumberland YMCA’s Mac Hawco (left) presented Spring Street Academy’s Daren White with the organization’s peace medal on Friday.
Students and staff of Spring Street Academy had gathered in the gymnasium Friday afternoon in a general assembly to review the school’s virtue of the month, kindness, which tied in nicely with a special presentation. Cumberland YMCA’s Mack Hawco was present to make a special presentation of the YMCA Peace Medal to teacher Daren White.
The award was kept a secret from White right up to the final moment, when Hawco announced his name. Clearly shocked, White made a double take before going to the front of the gymnasium as students jumped to their feet and a chorus of applause was paired with loud foot stomping and cheers.
“I’m shocked. I’m honestly shocked,” White later said. “At first I thought it was a normal assembly and then I saw we had some guests. Then when they started talking about the peace award I started looking around the gymnasium. We have a lot of great students so I was think ‘Oh, maybe it could be them. Or it could be that person there.’ I’m really honoured and humble.”
What was right to think it might be a students in the running for the award. Last year Spring Street Academy student Dane McCully was a recipient.
The YMCA Peace Medallion is intended to recognize the achievements of individuals and groups in local communities who – without any special resources – demonstrate in their lives and activities the values expressed in the World Alliance of YMCA’s 1981 Statement of Peace, which says “peace begins with each person, in relationship with family and friends, and extends to community life and national activities.”