May 17, 2003 - New Haven Register: State colleagues recognize Nigeria RPCV Peter Stolzman with Peace Award

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By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, May 17, 2003 - 6:20 pm: Edit Post

State colleagues recognize Nigeria RPCV Peter Stolzman with Peace Award

Read and comment on this story from the New Haven Register on Nigeria RPCV Peter Stolzman and his work to fight homelessness and poverty as a member of Interfaith Cooperative Ministries, which jumpstarted Columbus House and the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen at:

State colleagues recognize Branford teacher who helps build understanding*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

State colleagues recognize Branford teacher who helps build understanding

Marissa Yaremich, Register Staff

May 17, 2003

BRANFORD ó Understanding diversity and harmony among all peoples has been a lifetime goal for high school social studies teacher Peter Stolzman.
In honor of Stolzmanís work toward his dream, the Connecticut Education Association honored him with the Mahatma Gandhi-Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award Friday at its Human & Civil Rights award banquet.

"Iím flabbergasted just to have my name linked with Gandhi and King even for a minute. Itís such an incredible and humbling feeling for me," said Stolzman, 58, who lives in Branford.

For more than three decades, he said, he has tried hard to promote peace education among his students and peers.

It is an effort that Carol Ann Anyan, president of the local teachersí union, recognized and shared with the CEA by nominating Stolzman for the prestigious award last spring.

"Peter is known as the conscience of Branford High School," Anyan said Friday.

"He tries to keep people aware of whatís really important and to not become involved in things that are petty or self-serving," she added.

Stolzman began his journey in the late 1960s as a Peace Corps volunteer in west Africa. There, he tried to improve the lives of Nigerians by helping them repair schools and roads.

A more recent example includes his emphasis on global peace in his "American Character" class. With dozens of inspirational quotes taped to the walls around them, students are taught to celebrate peoplesí differences rather than cast a suspicious eye, Stolzman said.

Class discussions and written assignments have ranged from civil rights in America and ethnic studies to religious beliefs and redefining perspectives on life.

Students "must put themselves into the charactersí minds and understand their emotions. The point Ö is they experience empathy," Stolzman said.

Stolzman said he enjoys watching students join the high school chapter of Amnesty International, which he founded and serves as adviser.

The students have written their opinions to various world leaders, including advocating the abolition of the death penalty in American prisons.

"Evil doesnít exist in light. It exists in darkness so we shine the light on issues," Stolzman said.

Amnesty member and senior Kate Bergantino said she also plans to honor Stolzman by raising $350 with other students to purchase a "peace pole," which will be planted in Stolzmanís honor at an undetermined location.

The message "May Peace Prevail" will be engraved on the pole in different languages, such as Nigerian and American Sign Language, that have special meaning for Stolzman.

David Gruendel, chairman of the high school social studies department, said he has always been impressed by Stolzmanís commitment to his students.

Gruendel said he has watched his colleague for the last eight years teach kids "that people are people and they need to be seen as such. That history isnít just about names and dates." Stolzman organized students to raise money for Turkish earthquake victims in 1999, as well as $1,200 for Eutaw County, Ala., where four mostly black churches were torched.

For the past three years, Stolzman has tried to fight homelessness and poverty as a member of Interfaith Cooperative Ministries, which jumpstarted Columbus House and the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen.

Stolzman said he is flattered that his dedication to simply know and help others has culminated in the award.

"Itís a recognition for what Iíve tried to do with my life, whether itís true or not," he said with a chuckle. "But this is what is important to me: understanding people."

Marissa Yaremich can be reached at or at 789-5742.

©New Haven Register 2003

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Nigeria; Service; Peacemakers



By Sogbade kemi ( on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 10:42 am: Edit Post

I want yur organization to give me a schlorship for me to school in USA.I am a Nigerian i want to study in USA,I have my secondary school certificate with me and my other documents you may require...........Thank u

By oyedele oyebola ( on Thursday, September 13, 2007 - 5:53 pm: Edit Post

i will really appreciate it if am given the opportunity to study in america.

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