Can Passive Resistance Still Be the Solution?

By Anna Ste. Marie, Class of 2012

There’s no denying it: the Kony 2012 movement has caught the attention of a lot of cynics. Some are claiming that movement really has no strength since “liking” a video on Facebook cannot save the lives of the enslaved children in Uganda. Others are claiming that the issue is irrelevant since the Lord’s Resistance Army isn’t really active in Uganda anymore. However, their movement is strong in its commitment to a non-violent solution, but it’s the path to this non-violent solution that is still a little vague. Perhaps Invisible Children just needs to re-vamp their tactic in order to strengthen their movement. Perhaps they should implement a longstanding and deep-rooted tactic that has proven to be effective in the past. By analyzing some past techniques, a plan that could strengthen the Kony 2012 movement can be clearly seen.

There’s no denying it: Mahatma Gandhi fought for what he believed in. This fight is what he is illustrious for; not necessarily for what he was fighting against, but how he fought, which has grown into quite the phenomenon used throughout the past two centuries.

In the early 20th century, Gandhi encouraged his fellow Indians to stop buying British goods to bring growth to the local economy at the same time as undermining the British economy. Attacking the British government physically, he found, would only trigger a negative reaction. He had to develop a new sort of tactic. Some would consider it reverse-psychology, but he called it passive resistance. By using this type of opposition, it generated a negative response from the British, which made more Indians want to join his movement.

Gandhi took his movement to levels that some would consider borderline insane. He was imprisoned on several occasions, and during his sentences, he would go on hunger strikes. To fight the British salt monopoly, he marched to the ocean to gather sea salt. Justice is what he wanted, and even though he knew that he would not see it in his lifetime, he started a movement that changed the course of history.

Though Gandhi’s battle stirred a revolution in India, it did not end there. His passive resistance tactic spread worldwide. One of the most famous modern passive resistance fights was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s war against segregation and fight for civil rights. The King Center describes his technique by saying, “While others were advocating for freedom by “any means necessary,” including violence, Martin Luther King, Jr. used the power of words and acts of nonviolent resistance, such as protests, grassroots organizing, and civil disobedience to achieve seemingly-impossible goals.”

Like Gandhi, King fought to extreme levels for what he believed in. He too used his imprisonment as a growing point for his movement. With the same motives as Gandhi’s hunger strikes, he wrote “Letters From a Birmingham Jail,” which described to fellow Clergymen his drive to fight for civil rights. Some of the most crucial advancements for the equality of blacks were made in the years that Dr. King used the Gandhi-inspired passive resistance tactic.

However, Dr. King altered the movement slightly to fit the times in which he was fighting for Civil Rights. He took this vague movement that Gandhi had established and broke it down into four specific, easy-to-follow steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist, negotiation, self-purification, and direct action.

From these two past examples, it is apparent that this tactic is potent and effective, so why does the modern age seem to be the age of endless war? Why does humanity have the unending urge to fight fire with fire? Is it possible that the passive resistance established by Gandhi could work even today? Could it, say, solve some of today’s biggest global issues?

Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which is responsible for the kidnapping of over 30,000 children, has committed one of the biggest crimes against humanity, and even he could be stopped if the passive resistance tactic was used on him.

First of all, to follow Dr. King’s steps, a single person would have to carefully study and see the injustice caused by Kony and want to change it. This person would have to get together an army, so to say, of people fighting for peace and justice. Education would be vital to this step. This army would have to be completely informed of the complete history of this very complex subject. They would have to break down this conflict and look at it from every different perspective to make sure that bring Joseph Kony to justice is in everyone’s best interest.

If they are able to do that, they will then move onto the second step: negotiation. Since in this case, the group that needs to be negotiated with is a belligerent army, this could be a dangerous and possibly fatal step in the justice process. Also, negotiations directly with Kony will be impossible due to the fact that he is hiding somewhere deep in the jungles of northern Africa. However, if a group presents themselves on a small scale as very peaceful, Kony, or other high power leaders of the LRA may be open to negotiation. Of course, a solid plan, and possibly even several alternative plans, will have to be made before confronting the army.

Now onto the third of Dr. King’s steps: self-purification. This step is necessary because this passive resistance process is not a speedy process. In fact, it could be years before even the first two steps are completed. This step is a time of revitalization. It is a time for the revolutionaries to stop and look back at the original purpose of their movement. Sometimes, by this point, they will have somewhat lost focus so the third step is a time where they can forget about any past struggles, take some time to rejuvenate their movement, and re-start the movement just as strong as it was in the beginning.

The final step in Dr. King’s Gandhi-inspired process is direct action. Usually the phrase “direct action” has a violent undertone, but Dr. King meant the exact opposite. To him, direct action was in the form of, for example, a boycott against public transportation. In the case of the movement against Joseph Kony, direct action could be shutting down the sales of firearms and ammunition in certain African countries in order to stop empowering and assisting the LRA.

Fortunately, Invisible Children, the organization leading the Kony 2012 movement, has the motives for a passive resistance movement. Though they are not necessarily following the specific steps established by King, they are keeping Gandhi’s original teaching in mind when dealing with the LRA. For example, they are working to send American soldiers to Uganda, not to wage war, but to help track Kony in the jungle. Their movement is a little weak, though. While they do have a very strongly planned route of action, there are many skeptics. Perhaps if Invisible Children were to adapt to Dr. King’s plan, they would have a stronger design, as well as a larger support base.

Gandhi, the originator of the passive resistance movement, said, “I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before any one even at the cost of your life.” This shows not only his full commitment to his movement, but also his full faith in its effectiveness. His tactic proved to be strong as it gained a lot of crucial progress for the Civil Rights movement and it could still be effective today if only humanity had faith in its ability to fight against Kony.




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Youth Town Meeting Inspires Hundreds

By Nicole Guest, Class of 2014

Back in January, Anna and I were presented with an tremendous opportunity to lead a workshop at an event in Lyndonville called Youth Town Meeting.  Although it sounds like it would be boring, like a town meeting for adults where they talk about budgets and schools, it was anything but that.  On April 3rd, Anna and I took a day off of school to join my community in Lyndonville in learning something new, being inspired, and encouraging others to do the same.

Youth Town Meeting is put on by a group in Caledonia and Southern Essex Counties called the Youth Advisory Council.  It’s made up of local youth and leaders who are committed to living a substance-free life.  The council works to put on events that promote youth taking action in the community, as well as substance and alcohol-abuse prevention strategies throughout the community.  One of the advisors, who I have known for a while, contacted me through Facebook and asked if I would like to lead a workshop at the annual Youth Town Meeting.  However; being someone who spends most of their time in Newport anymore rather than Lyndonville, I had to ask “what’s Youth Town Meeting?”  Sue Teske, one of the advisors on the council, says:  “Youth Town Meeting is an annual youth leadership conference that our youth council presents to 400 youth from Caledonia and southern Essex counties.”

That’s a pretty vague description, so Anna and I didn’t quite know what we were getting ourselves into… Basically, it’s a day to get out of school, learn new things, meet new people, and do so while in an environment that encourages the community to find other options rather than substance and alcohol abuse.  The theme of the year was “Live your life, Laugh it up, Love every second,” inspiring teens to live the life they want, rather than letting others tell them what they can and cannot do.

It started bright and early, just like a school day, with a keynote speaker to open the event.  Stephen “Wish” Shannon, a professional breakdancer who grew up in Wheelock, he opened the meeting by explaining how, despite growing up in Vermont where he was told he couldn’t be a breakdancer and facing multiple hardships when he moved to Florida to pursue his passion, he never stopped trying.  He was determined to live his life how he wanted to, he laughed at the hard times, and he loved what he did.

After an inspiring message from Wish, everyone split up to go to the morning workshops.  You could choose to go to any workshop, such as learning sign language, suicide prevention, and how to foster peace in a new generation.  Afternoon workshops were more hands-on, with more creativity and freedom.  This is where Anna and I were able to use our talents to benefit the community.  We led a workshop called “Not Just Another T-Shirt: Reinventing the Common” where we were able to teach a group of about 30 students how to reconstruct old t-shirts into unique and more wearable pieces.  Other workshops from the afternoon included going crazy while making hats out of recycled materials, laughter yoga, learning how to play Gong-gi, and an international sing-along.

Katie Levasseur concluded the day by inspiring us to live our lives to our full potential.  As a teenager, she tried many different things to live up to the standard of her parents, including basketball.  However, it wasn’t until her basketball coach told her she shouldn’t play if she didn’t want to that she realized she wasn’t living a life that she loved.  She was a self-admitted “awkward teenager,” and it wasn’t until her government teacher gave her a pamphlet for Miss Vermont and an internship at the State House when she realized she could be doing something she loved.  After a lot of hard work, she was able to use her internship to pass the law that allows 17 year olds to vote in primaries if they’ll be 18 by the general election.  She was also able to transform herself from an awkward teenager to Miss Vermont.  She ended her presentation by encouraging us to live how we want to, not how others expect us to.

By participating, Anna and I were not only able to spend a day showing others how they can have fun and live their life without alcohol and drugs, but we were also able to learn ourselves.  It showed us how a group of less than 30 kids and fewer than a dozen adults can put on an event to impact more than 400 kids’ lives.

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Death on Tap

By Kelee Prince, Class of 2015

Despite the common view that there is not a huge difference between assisted suicide and euthanasia, there is a distinction between the two.  Assisted suicide is a professional way of ending someone’s life when they are terminally ill by that person’s own will.  There is a fine line between euthanasia and assisted suicide.  Euthanasia is when a medical professional ends your life without your help, however, assisted suicide is when the doctor provides you with drugs you can use to end your own life, such as lethal pills, but you will always do the final act, such as swallowing them. 

All of this is relevant to today’s society.  In Montana, Oregon, and Washington, physician-assisted suicide is already legal. In Vermont there is no law which specifically prohibits assisted suicide; it is a common crime.  According to Mr. Smith they will not have enough votes in the senate to pass the bill, but it will not be an issue that will easily fade away. 

In our society there are many views on physician-assisted suicide.  Some people are against murder, yet for physician-assisted suicide because it is only available to the suffering, yet it is still murder/suicide.  Some people think it is not okay, yet they do not do anything to stop it, and others take the Christian view according to the Bible.

 Some of the students and teachers here at United Christian Academy were asked what they thought about physician-assisted suicide.  Here are a few of their responses: 

Mr. Smith was dead set against it, according to him it is very wrong. 

Mr. Barker said that physician-assisted suicide is “An expression of the nihilism that grips western man at this stage in late capitalism; it’s a mark of the culture of death.”

The student body chose to be anonymous; here is a little bit of what they said. 

“It would be a lot better to live your life out.”

“It’s completely wrong!”

“It’s wrong to commit suicide and the doctor is helping you, so…”

Why is this wrong?  Life is sacred.  Deuteronomy 32:39 says “See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.” God has the power over life and death. Ecclesiastes 3:2 says “there is a time to be born and a time to die”.  God decides when your time is; it is not for us to decide. 

Physician-assisted Suicide and Euthanasia are two very important issues in the world right now.  Your opinion on these matters count; it is up to you to make them known. 


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Student Spotlight: Moriah Lafoe

By Elisabeth Dubois, class of 2015

Many of you probably know our amazing athlete here at United Christian Academy, Moriah Lafoe. Moriah is a very energetic and a remarkable person and she is worth knowing. She is currently in 9th grade and she is fifteen. Most often, Moriah is found laughing and smiling throughout the halls of UCA.

Moriah is one of three children in her family along with Isaac and Abram. Isaac Lafoe is one of four seniors and Abram is a kindergartener here. Isaac is 17, while Abram is 6. Moriah loves having them close by and loves to spend time with them. Being a sister, Moriah often finds herself in the middle of gross conversations. Since she has had a lot of practice, she figures out how to ignore them.

Moriah has a keen sense of physical activity and she enjoys playing sports. She began her years here playing soccer, and she just finished her first season of basketball. Moriah is a passionate soccer player, and all throughout basketball season she waits for summer to come so she can get outside and play soccer once again. Moriah plays mid field most of the time but plays other positions when needed. Her hobbies also include running and biking around her neighborhood. In the summertime you may see her running or biking with her mom. Moriah is often seen with friends, and in the summer, with her family at their lake house. Having family close by allows her to spend much of her summer swimming in the lake and four-wheeling with them.

Most of all, Moriah has a special friendship with her horse Odie, a brown majestic mare. She spends as much time as she can riding him and taking care of him. It is relatively easy for her to see her horse because he lives in a barn right near her home. Moriah used to ride at a barn until it closed, and she misses that barn a lot. She likes to just ride for fun and doesn’t compete much. When Moriah got her horse it was still winter and her horse was still in training. Moriah was riding her horse along her road when she began to start up her driveway. A dog began to bark and since her horse was still skittish he reared and began to jerk at the lead. Moriah didn’t want to let go of Odie because she didn’t know what he would do to the neighborhood kids playing. In just a few moments her ‘angelic’ horse began to pull Moriah and before she knew it she ended up over the snow bank with scrapes all over her legs.

When asked if Moriah likes school she said “no, I’m not a fan.”  Moriah has a good time at school because of her friends around her. Her favorite class is study hall; because it is a time she can hang with friends. When asked if Moriah would change anything at school she responded “it should start later.” Moriah says if school started later then she wouldn’t be so tired because she could sleep longer. Moriah thinks going to school at eight o’ clock in the morning is too early because her brain is still in sleep mode.

Moriah feels strongly about this country’s issues. Mostly she focuses on animal cruelty being stopped in America. When asked if she could change one thing in the United States she answered “no slaughter houses for animals, especially horses.” Being a horse owner, Moriah feels strongly about the issue of people killing pets to eat. She believes that slaughter houses are cruel and show punishment to an animal for doing nothing wrong.

The sun and the beaches in Florida attract Moriah, and it is her favorite vacation destination. Moriah’s favorite part of begin in Florida is going to the beach.  One of Moriah’s funniest memories of going on vacation was in Maine. Moriah went with her whole family to Maine to go biking. She was on a bike trail in Maine when she got separated from her family and got lost. It started to rain and when Moriah’s family got back to the town they called the police. Soon after that the police put together a search team Moriah was found safe but was very cold and very hungry.

Moriah has strong beliefs in our country’s issues and is headstrong. These qualities will help Moriah in her future, because in today’s society you need a strong sense of family and keen sense of health. Moriah is great with her family by dealing with two brothers in a loving and compassionate way. Lastly she has a love for animals which shows through her treatment of her horse and issues of no slaughter houses. Overall Moriah is definitely worth knowing and worth being friends with.

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Talent Show Announcement

By Nicole Guest, class of 2014

On Saturday, March 24th, United Christian Academy will be holding their annual talent show.  A spaghetti and meatball dinner will begin at 5:00, and following will be the talent show at 6:30.  The night will feature talents from students that are in Kindergarten through 12th grade, and from any parents of staff that wish to perform. 

While the school may be small, there isn’t a lack of talent.  From synchronized swimming, to cup stacking, to voices from the heavens, there have been some memorable and lasting acts that have graced the stage.  Many recall the night that Jake Shoemaker and a few of his friends nearly flooded the school as they swam in trash cans filled with water.  Another fan-favorite is Jacob Borsari’s ‘jokes,’ and then being pulled off of the stage by Chase’s giant shepherd’s staff.  Or who can forget Timmy Howard’s annual cup stacking performances?  Needless to say, UCA talent shows always have some good laughs shared.  Although there are some funny acts, there are also some amazing talents found within UCA.  No one can deny that Noah Tompkins, a 6th grader here at UCA, left the crowd in awe as he sung “Let it Be” and won the golden microphone last year.

This year’s acts are sure to please as students throughout the school practice and work their hardest to perfect their talents.  Some of these acts include: Whitney Carter, a sophomore, singing a tribute to Whitney Houston; Robbie Ianni, a 6th grader, rocking out on his saxophone; and the Swenson boys playing the melody harp and piano.  You won’t want to miss any of the incredible gifts that will be shared on the stage.

Seating is limited and talent shows are always one of the highlights of UCA fundraisers, so make sure you reserve your seats.  The cost is $8 per person, or $25 for a family, and reservations can be made by calling 802-334-3112, or by emailing


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Letter from the Senior Editor

What’s going on, Crusaders!

As most of you must know by now, there is a movement sweeping the country called Kony 2012. It has taken over social media, controlled the topic of conversation online, and even seeped into newspapers and newscasts. Some of you, I’m sure, have watched the video “Kony 2012” made by the charity Invisible Children, but some of you have no idea what the movement is about. As a future journalism student, I have taken special interest in this movement because of the way that it is using new media sources like Facebook, YouTube, and blogs to become viral. I plan on writing several articles on this topic so it is crucial that readers know what the movement is.

In Uganda in 1987, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) was formed. This is a rebel army kidnaps children, makes the boys into belligerent warriors, and the girls into sex slaves. (To read more about the LRA, view Kelee’s article about Invisible Children.) Their leader is Joseph Kony and the only purpose he has for the army is to prove his power.

The goal of Kony 2012 is to capture and arrest Joseph Kony; bring him to justice. The main way you and I can help doing this, and the purpose behind the viral video and online attention, is to simply make Kony famous.

So how will liking a Facebook page save thousands of enslaved children? Simple. By liking pages, watching videos, sharing information, and spreading the message, we are going to attract a lot of attention from peers but also from the media. By getting media attention, we can be on the covers of newspapers, magazines and make headlines in local and national newscasts. If this happens, it will be obvious that we support the movement and want something done about it. Our policy makers and government officials will surely see this. Since they are committed to representing our beliefs, they will have to act against Kony’s crimes. One way they can do this is by sending troops to Africa; not to fight the LRA or kill Kony, but to train Ugandan soldiers how to use tracking technology so that they can find Kony, who is hiding in the deep jungles of central Africa. He will be arrested, the children set free, and the war ended. Isn’t the impact of social media amazing?

If this at all sparks your interest, I urge you to watch the video since it explains the entire movement in much greater detail, and it tells you additional ways to get involved.

Of course, this is a very biased opinion and there are several conflicting views. As a journalist, I have vowed to present our audience with an impartial opinion. Since I really cannot do that with this subject, I will present you will all perspectives of this highly controversial topic.

Crusaders, this is a topic that I feel very strongly about and I plan on writing several articles concerning the Kony movement. This little letter is just a warning for what you are going to see from me over the next few weeks, and I will most likely refer back to this letter in future articles. I look forward to giving you all the run-down on everything Kony related! If you have a question about the movement or anything that you would like me to address in an article, please leave me a comment under this post!

Peace and Love!

Anna, Senior Editor. 


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Getting to Know Augusta

By Kelee Prince and Elisabeth Dubois, Class of 2015

One of five siblings, Augusta Plucas, has many different aspects other than those that many of us at UCA realize.  This fairly new student that many have not had the opportunity to get to know has many wonderful qualities.

Augusta is the youngest of five girls: Renaee, Brittnay, Robin, and Beth. Augusta loves being around her family and appreciates the homey atmosphere at United Christian Academy. In her opinion, UCA is better than the public schools because she does not get picked on as much. When we asked Augusta if she could change anything about United Christian Academy she said “nothing,” which shows she has great school spirit. Her favorite subject is Bible because she loves Mrs. Barker.

Her hobbies include running for fun, especially with her dog. She also loves hanging out with her friends. Augusta has a great passion for reading. One of her favorite series of books is the Maximum Ride series. Her favorite animal is her horse, Starr. This gorgeous animal lives in a barn behind Augusta’s friend’s house, and she tries to ride her every night. She also enjoys watching television; her favorite show is Pretty Little Liars and action movies are her favorite genre. Augusta’s favorite foods include pizza and sweets.

When asked what her favorite vacation was, she said it was her yearly trip to Maine. Every summer,  In the future, Augusta sees herself at CCV with intentions of becoming a Veterinarian.  She has had experiences with pets dying and was not able to do anything about it. By becoming a vet because she hopes that she will be able to change this and be able to properly care for others’ pets as well as her own.

If asked what you could do to change the world, you might reply with selfish answers, or maybe something less meaningful to the extremely poor people surrounding us from day to day.  This need Augusta shared and said she would change, if she could, as very meaningful and stretches from Newport, Vermont to everywhere around the world.  This issue is world hunger.

This fun-loving, compassionate, Augusta Plucas, has much to offer. Getting to know better has been fascinating and worth-while.

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