Abrego wins essay contestWORTHINGTON - He is considering going into the field of law, is currently part of a peer mediation group, and was recently named as one of 18 eighth grade students in the state to receive an award for an essay about preventing school violence.
By: Justine Wettschreck, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON - He is considering going into the field of law, is currently part of a peer mediation group, and was recently named as one of 18 eighth grade students in the state to receive an award for an essay about preventing school violence.
Logan Abrego, who attends Worthington Middle School, was one of approximately 500 students who participated in the essay contest, which is sponsored by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association. The contest is in its 13th year.
Abrego was awarded a certificate and a $100 prize for his essay, titled “Let’s Stop the Violence.”
“We all know there is violence in schools everywhere in America, in Minnesota, and in Worthington,” Abrego wrote in his essay. “Here are my suggestions to end the violence: we need to be honest, we need to respect each other, and I think every school should have a Peer Mediation program.”
This is Abrego’s second opportunity to be part of a school peer mediation group. He served in the program as a fifth grade student at Prairie Elementary, and decided to do it again as an eighth grader.
“It has really taught me there are more ways to solve problems than violence,” he explained.
The peer mediation group helps solve conflicts between students by sitting down with the people involved in the conflict and coming up with solutions. The conflicts can involve issues such as personal space, teasing, name calling and bullying.
“Each side tells their story, then we help them put together a solution that is workable for both of them,” Abrego stated. “We ask them what happened and what they are feeling, they offer a solution and we help them fine-tune it.”
The group members play the role of the adults, Abrego said, with calm heads and rational thought. If a situation is complicated, the group is assisted by their advisor.
From listening to the cases presented by those who have been to peer mediation, Abrego has learned that when a situation presents itself, it is best to try to stay calm.
“Don’t do anything irrational,” he advises. “Just walk away.”
In his essay, he addresses the need for honesty and respect.
“Honest is an essential trait everybody should have,” the essay states, then goes on to discuss gossip. “Gossip is usually spread because of jealousy, hatred and revenge. Gossip is almost never true.”
The essay touches on disrespect in the form of verbal and physical bullying, and adds that respect for yourself is also important.
“When you disrespect yourself, you won’t be able to respect others,” Abrego wrote.
“With all my heart, I believe we can stop the violence,” the essay concludes. “I know it will be a complex task, but it can be conquered by hard work and determination by school administrators. Students will need to have open eyes and ears also.
“I think stopping the violence will lead to a better America, Minnesota, Worthington and me!”
Abrego, the son of Jeremy and Shellie Abrego of Worthington, was surprised when he was informed of the award on Tuesday.
“I didn’t think I’d win anything,” he said with a grin.