'What would you do?' This was the big question put to students in the recent 'One Punch Can Kill' workshop.
Varndean students were humbled to take part in an emotionally explosive workshop from the Connors Helping Hand project, part of the Connors 5 Foundation set up to honour the legacy of 19 year old Connor Saunders, who tragically died from a single punch on 14th April 2012. The death of Connor has been widely reported, often with an iconic photo of him taken just hours before his death, proudly wearing his football kit. The aim of the workshop is to reinforce the messages of doing the right thing, even if that goes against what your friends say or do, not getting drawn into tricky situations by friends, noticing the little details which could change everything in a chain of events and being more understanding of and kind to others.
The workshop was delivered by Jamie Denyer, Uncle of Connor Saunders, anti-bullying youth mentor and award-winning inspirational speaker in schools, colleges, young offenders institutions and prisons.
Varndean School is the first school in Sussex to have the workshop and Mr Denyer opened the session by telling students and staff to forget what they'd heard, to forget their assumptions, and that,
We are free to make choices but we are not free from the consequences of those choices.
The students were totally engaged in this hard hitting workshop, as can be seen in some of their feedback below.
I found it really emotional. It made me think about the consequences of our actions.
'I found this really interesting, it has made me think more about keeping away from aggressive behaviour.'
'It was so interesting, and sad. I thought Jamie was very brave to do this.'
'Really made me think and if I'm in a situation that could involve violence I will now try and calm it down.'
The One Punch Workshop is delivered exceptionally well, it is full of raw emotion but the message delivered is loud and clear. Staff member.
The session finished with a call to action for the students whereby they signed a pledge to deliver a random act of kindness.