With headlines about the violence in Charlottesville and Las Vegas coming in rapid fire, there may be no better time for a discussion about peace.
Hixson Middle School teacher Michael Weger used the opportunity provided by Lions Clubs International's annual Peace Poster contest, hosted in schools around the world. Each year features a new theme and students are encouraged to create an artistic representation without using words.
This year's theme was "The Future of Peace."
Weger's early morning Response to Intervention class is centered around community engagement, and the 11-year teaching veteran said he was thrilled for the opportunity to engage his students through the contest again.
Here are some of his students' thoughts on the future of peace.
"Establishing bonds between us is what matters. Everyone has to unite to come together to overcome the bad stuff around us. There's hurricanes, there's shootings, there's glaciers melting, but that central idea of peace can help us."
"Peace is when everyone can help each other with the tools they have. You can't always change people's minds, though. Some will do whatever they want, but if other people come together, you can stop them. If you can't stop them, then you can at least move past it together."
"I didn't listen to people when they tried to bring me down. Some people don't have the opportunity to do that; they feel like they can't do it or that everyone is pushing them down. So peace is lifting those people up."
"I think the contest is cool because it shows there's people that actually care about this stuff. I would show people you can help others. You don't have to be angry about everything. Instead of people comparing their differences, they can focus on their similarities. We need to work together better."
"My drawing is of two girls getting married, and there's people that are angry about it and people that are happy about it. I think people should just mind their own business. That's their business and they're not asking for other people's permission to do that. If people got on with life and cared a bit less about what other people are doing, it would be better."
"Peace is achieving a place where no one is fighting. Even though some people want to fight, you still have to try. It would probably be hard, but still worth it."
"Even if the world goes into a dark place, an abyss of despair, you can still find the littlest bits of hope. That's important."