Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

MLA award glorifies peacemakers to counter violence in pop culture

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GORD Mackintosh has many duties as Justice Minister, but one of the most rewarding is being able to present the Peacekeeper Award to deserving students at graduation ceremonies each year.

Started in 1998 by Mackintosh, who is also the MLA for St. Johns, the award recognizes a commitment to peacekeeping through non-violent conflict resolution, co-operation and the principles of fair play in the classroom and the school community.

Brigitte Quintana of Governor Semple School in West Kildonan, who received the award June 27, is the perfect embodiment of what this award represents.

"Brigitte is one of those kids who has the rare talent of being able to work with anyone," says her principal, Grant Patterson. "If a situation of conflict arises, she will always attempt to defuse it and she makes each member of her class feel valued."

For her part, Quintana doesn't think she's done anything all that special.

"I've always been that way. If I can help, out I do," says Quintana, 11, who is going into Grade 7 in September.

Mackintosh believes that society must begin to glorify the peacekeepers.

"The glorification of violence in movies and action heroes is a powerful force and helps legitimize physical and coercive solutions by youth," he says, adding that the peacekeepers are the real action heroes and deserve recognition for their efforts.

Although the award is presented by Mackintosh, the school is solely responsible for selecting the recipient.

The award is in the form of a certificate combined with a monetary award, which is $75 for elementary schools, $125 for middle schools and $175 for high schools.

This year, Mackintosh went to nine schools to present the Peacekeeper Award. Other award recipients were: Jessica Sutherland of Luxton School, Lesley Ann Camaso of West Kildonan Collegiate, Krysten Desmond of St. John's High School, Jazmine Kubas of Ralph Brown School, Keith Campeau and Amandi Li of Champlain School, Gabrielle Lisi of Seven Oaks Middle School, 23 students in the Peace Club at Victory School, and 38 conflict managers at Inkster School.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 9, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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