We Did It!

Posted by PAUL HNIZDIL on 4/8/2022 11:00:00 AM

We did it!  It's taken a couple of school years, but we completed the first phase of this WPG initiative. 


We cycled all five of my history classes of the 2021-2022 school year through the World Peace Game.  It feels great to actually reach this milestone.   It was tough.  Working five classes has been a unique and significant challenge for me.  There were days I wasn’t sure what the other classes were doing or doing next.  I felt like a NASCAR team owner who has 5 cars racing at Bristol, and not all my cars are on the lead lap.  Did one crash into the wall? Maybe 😉


Gratefully during some of the tougher times, I could hear John whispering, "I don’t know how you are going to do it.  It is going to be tough.  I don’t know how, but I think you can do it.”  Yes we did. 


This milestone would not have been reached without great support.  THANK YOU to


John Hunter for the vision, the platform, training, encouragement and mentoring.  You said several times during our training, the WPG is a trap.  It’s a trojan horse.  Indeed, it is.  The WPG is not really about playing a game to achieve peace.  It is so much more. More for the students and teachers alike.  Wow.  As we’ve said before, we can’t thank you enough. 


Suzan Brandt who talked about the game to Tami in the library one fateful fall day in 2018.  They started to ponder, “What if…?”  That conversation moved to “Hey, Niz!  Come here…what do you think…” Before Jimmy could crack corn, the initial team grew when Holly Martin agreed to get on this wild ride.    


The Mountain Brook Foundation for believing in our vision for the WPG.  The foundation was instrumental in helping us overcome the biggest obstacle.  They funded two training opportunities and materials to build our games.  It was a large investment for sure.     


Donald Clayton for having faith and trusting us that this initiative would be in the best interest of kids, even though you may not have fully understood.  Frankly, we are still trying to figure it out ourselves. 


Tami Genry and Holly Martin.  That was a heck of a first trip.  I remember we left for Miami with such confidence and vigor.  “We got this.  We’ll come back ready to rock.”  We knew what we were getting into, and we were confident that we would come back equipped with the tools to build the WPG at the JH.  No sweat. 


Wait…what just happened?  I for one, came back thinking, “Now what?”  I wasn’t as confident.  In fact, I had doubts.   It wasn’t until later that I realized John’s genius.   He World Peace Gamed us.  Our game, our crisis was to figure out the implementation.  John gave us all we needed, but none of the solutions.  We were experiencing  the first stages of the WPG – Overwhelming Confusion and Despair.  Together we worked the crises not with “What ifs” of potential problems but with “What ifs” as well as “Yes, ands…” that moved us towards solutions.  In time, we moved through the other stages – Futile Effort, Experimental Collaboration, and THE CLICK. 


Each of you ladies expertly used your talents and experience to keep this train on the tracks, especially when I was driving a bit radically.  Without a doubt, the WPG would not be in the JH if you were not on this team.  Thank you for being “Ruth” and “Jiminy Cricket” in those early days.  There is no one else I would have wanted to start this ride with. 


Matt Howard and Helena Strickland for your willingness to follow this old fool on what may have seemed like a fool’s mission.  You are essential to the future of the WPG at the JH.


Michelle Rose for being the unsung hero in this entire process.  All great strategists know that battles are not won solely in the trenches.  Logistics is always the link to ultimate victory.  Michelle, your work behind the scenes preparing for the very first game and every game since is indispensable.  Without you, there is no WPG at the JH.  I’d still be looking for satellites to put on the board.  😊


Tami Genry.  I want to thank you again. You have been with me every step of the way.  Part of every game.  Every game your experience, intelligence, insight, encouragement and kind rebukes proved to be invaluable to the success of the WPG.  You are a perfect older (barely 😉) sister in this WPG family of ours.     


We now have 11 successful games on the tote board since the spring of 2019.  Tami and I are firmly in the last two stages – Flow State and Mastery.  I think Tami and I can attest, no two games are alike.  What will the next 5 games bring?  What will the students experience and learn?  In what ways will we continue to evolve as facilitators and traditional teachers? 


Stay tuned.  Come on down.  We will see.  We will see indeed.