Lessons in courage

92013_SJHSeventSeventh-grade students at Oak-Land and Stillwater junior high schools participated in Courage Retreats Tuesday and Thursday. The day-long sessions are a way to talk to seventh graders about using courage to stand up for others, be themselves, make a change and follow their heart instead of the crowd. The retreats consisted of various games and exercises to teach students about courage. Towards the end of the day Thursday, SJHS students broke into small groups to discuss goal-setting and expectations with ninth-grade students who served as mentors. The day culminated in an exercise called “Pebble in the Pond” where students have the option to share their act of courage they’ll be committing to throughout the year. Many commitments to preventing bullying, standing up for others or themselves, accepting t92013_SJHSevent2heir differences and learning to love kindness by returning it were made at the event. Oak-Land JHS seventh graders had their retreat Tuesday at the Lake Elmo school. (Gazette Staff photos by Avery Cropp)