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Nuclear questions linger

Unlike Dr. Strangelove, there is no love for the bomb at St. John’s High School.

Throughout October, the school’s Grade 12 global issues class presented a display on nuclear disarmament, with materials courtesy of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

The class acted as tour guides, leading their fellow St. John’s students through the devastating display.

“They learn about what nuclear warfare is, what the impacts of a nuclear strike could be, the cleanup, the cost, and why we need to disarm,” said St. John’s global issues teacher Russ Patterson.

“It’s very visual. The kids really get a chance to look closely at the issue and answer questions. It’s been a very positive experience for the tour guides, as well and students and teachers that have come through.”

The students learned about the history of nuclear weapons, from the Manhattan Project – the American undertaking that produced the first nuclear weapons during the Second World War – to the recent threats of nuclear war between the U.S. and North Korea.

The students also learned who has the nukes – with the U.S. and Russia controlling the bulk of the world’s estimated 14,900 nuclear warheads – and of course the impact of nuclear war, particularly the U.S. detonation of bombs over the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 that killed over 200,000 people.

“We want more kids to be informed of what is happening,” said St. John’s global issues student Ty Salafiwchuk. “This is a major problem in our world right now and not something we learn everyday in class. It’s something people should be aware of and it’s good for these kids to know so we can change in future generations.”

Photos and article by Jared Story

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