With the morning sun shining down and a blue sky above them, students at Annunciation Catholic School planted pinwheels in the ground around the school’s front garden peace pole.
Students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade came together Wednesday morning to celebrate International Day of Peace.
In a worldwide project dubbed “Pinwheels for Peace,” the school began taking part in the tradition 11 years ago thanks to a former employee. With this project, students design and construct their own pinwheels before planting them on school grounds.
The Pinwheels for Peace website says a pinwheel is a reminder of childhood when things were peaceful and joyful, and it is set to serve as a reminder there are people who value peace, tolerance and cooperation.
Curriculum Director and Assistant Principal Casey Thomas said the week of International Day of Peace, which is observed every Sept. 21, the students will have teachings of peace especially emphasized, although the concepts are taught year round.
“The great thing about being an art-integrated school is that peace has been incorporated into our art classes, music classes and even our religion classes this week,” Thomas said. “They’re tied into our Catholic faith when Jesus says, ‘My peace I leave you. My peace I give to you.’ In art and in class, they’ve worked to make their pinwheels from an engineering standpoint and artistic standpoint. Some of the students have on the pinwheels what peace means to them or art of how they visualize peace.”
The International Day of Peace began in 1981 when it was established by the United Nations General Assembly, and in 2001, the day was designated as a “period of non-violence and cease-fire,” the UN website states. The date was initially chosen as the third Tuesday of September, which marked the first open regular session of the General Assembly but was changed in 2002.
Bennett Collins, a fourth-grader at ACS, said he enjoys learning about peace and all the activities that come with the International Day of Peace, and he said the message he put on his pinwheel is one of spreading peace and kindness to others.
“We need to put more peace in the world because a lot of people put hatred in the world because they don’t like stuff,” Collins said. “I think that we should give the people kindness instead of hate.”
In regards to how much fun he had making his pinwheel and the activities that came with it, Collins told The Dispatch he thoroughly enjoyed his time.
“On a scale of one to 10, I had about a 9.5,” Collins said.
Aaliyah Sanders, an eighth-grade student, said this is her first year participating in Pinwheels for Peace and said the visibility of the project for anyone to see is one of her favorite parts. As a leader in the student body, she said it’s special to be able to help her younger peers and helps set an example for them in regards to kindness.
“It’s different from my other schools,” Sanders said. “When you learn about peace, you learn a lot of neat things, and I think it’s cool how we have the pinwheels out for everybody to see when they pass by so they can see and wonder what it is.”
When driving on North Browder Street, anyone can see the many pinwheels planted between the school and the Food Giant parking lot. Thomas said this is done intentionally.
“It’s a great visual statement as to how our students can really think about how they can promote peace in the classroom, in the school, in the world when they’re shown so much conflict in the world,” Thomas said. “It allows them to meditate on peace and the role they play in it.”
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