Written by Linda Mittiga.
Each year, the United Nations picks a theme for celebrating International Day of Peace—a movement to recognize efforts, great and small, which promote peace.
This year, as the UN recognized the “power of education” to build tolerant societies that foster global citizenship, officials called “for greater investment in quality education and to reverse trends which show aid for schools and teachers dipping for the first time in a decade.”
Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon remarked, “Let us invest in the
schools and teachers that will build a fair and inclusive world that
embraces diversity. Let us fight for peace and
defend it with all our might.”
Districtwide, Sayville students have traditionally prepared for the annual event in a variety of ways.
- Pinwheel Power Makes Statement at Sayville High School & Middle School:
The Sayville Art Department continues promoting peace with their projects. Art teacher Jen Berotti (who had spearheaded the Pinwheels for Peace Project at the Middle School for many years) worked with colleague Evan Hammer (who also launched Pinwheels at the High School) to create this year's outdoor display at the High School. Pinwheels designed by the students were artfully inscribed with messages of peace. Throughout the school day, High School art classes convened on the front lawn to journal their thoughts about peace, collaborated on a community art piece, and after, planted pinwheels to form an enormous peace sign.
“This year we incorporated the Common Core standards by discussing, debating, ‘ journaling,’ and sketching our ideas on ways to promote peace in our community, schools and ourselves, based on articles from the United Nations,” Ms. Berotti remarked. “We want our students to see that their art can give people a reason to start a conversation about Peace. It may be small, but that's where it starts."
For International Day of Peace, Middle School Art Teachers Tiffany Trava and Alexandra Peterson coordinated peace projects in their art classes. Ms. Trava’s Seventh graders made pinwheels and planted them outside by the peace pole. Also, along with Ms. Peterson, Ms. Trava showcased peace signs and origami doves made by the students in the art hallway display cases.
- Sayville Elementary schools diversity their International Day of Peace Celebrations:
Previously, Cherry Avenue students created Peace Flags in art classes, conducted by Art Teacher Robin Laxton, to send wishes of peace, serenity, and happiness to friends and loved ones in the community. This art project was displayed on the school fences and showcased the students’ individual thoughts about peace in the world.
with Gandhi's Birthday, Lincoln Avenue Physical Education teachers
Elizabeth Bolger and Gary Jenson held
a canned-food drive for the community to collect items for the Sayville
Food Pantry, and on a designated day, everyone at Lincoln Avenue wore
in the library courtyard at Sunrise Drive, the First- through
Fifth-grade students formed a broad circle.
As the Kindergarten children paraded into the courtyard, the circle
parted, like opened arms, allowing the youngest to pass through and form
their own inner circle—symbolically embraced in welcome by Sunrise
Drive’s peaceful family. After taking the Peace
Pledge together and singing their Peace Song, each class took turns to
share a unique peace promise with the entire assembly.
Unlike in parts of the world afflicted by poverty and strife, educational excellence is available here in Sayville School District. Through the UN’s annual appeal for Peace, everyone in Sayville schools renews their pledge to refrain from bullying and behaviors that cause harm.
The Sayville School District community knows that a quality education has great power to not only teach our children about nonviolence and tolerance, but encourage them yearlong to perform community service and random acts of kindness. Our future depends on what our children learn now: as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect!”