Clary Students Visit Zen Center, Find Inner Calm

     Published on 12/14/16   Tagged under:    District News    Academics    Clary Middle School   

Seventh graders at Clary started the year off with an English Language Arts unit on short stories that taught life skills, with a focus on the theme of developing inner strength. One story in particular, ELA teacher JoAnn Cooke explained, detailed a Samurai who had extraordinary inner strength and would only fight if it was absolutely necessary.
To bring the lesson to life, Ms. Cooke arranged for students to earn points for good behavior in class – with top point earners being rewarded with a trip to the Zen Center of Syracuse.
“I wanted the kids to see that inner strength is a way to be – that you can make choices,” she explained. “It’s an experience that they would probably never have had otherwise. Plus, the kids became very genuine with each other, because they gained some space between talking and reacting.”
Students detailed the peace they felt walking the grounds of the Zen Center, hitting a gong and meditating.
“We went to a meditation room and learned different positions you can use when you meditate,” Darrien Esquillien explained. “We calmed down, and it helped us get along better because it helped us be quiet and focus, instead of talking!”
“I felt calmer than I ever have,” classmate Sierra Hernandez said. “I go through stuff in school and at home, so it’s nice to learn a way to help. Sometimes in school, all you hear is drama everywhere. But there, everyone was just quiet and in one happy place.”
Some students even said they have used the meditation poses and deep breathing techniques on their own since their visit.
“I was going through a tough time and I needed some quiet time, so it was nice,” Darrien added. “I have meditated with my brother since then… but it’s not as good, because he keeps talking!”
Good luck to the Clary students as they continue to make good choices!