Local schools, agencies mark International Day of Peace

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Region - posted Tue., Sep. 24, 2013
Keyana Rubino and Mykenzie Ryan arrange paper pinwheels adorned with peaceful words on the front lawn of Griswold Middle School to mark the International Day of Peace. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Keyana Rubino and Mykenzie Ryan arrange paper pinwheels adorned with peaceful words on the front lawn of Griswold Middle School to mark the International Day of Peace. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

A variety of fun activities marked the International Day of Peace Sept. 21, as several local organizations hosted events aimed at promoting peace on the global as well as on the personal level.

In Baltic, the Academy of the Holy Family offered a day-long workshop titled “Peace One Day,” which included student guests from St. Bernard High School and Marianapolis Prep. AHF Principal Anne Halloran Tortora said that three presenters, including two religious sisters and a Muslim, offered their insights into promoting peace within a diverse culture, working for peace in the school environment, and achieving peace within themselves. The day ended with a “flash mob” dance in the school gym.

In Griswold, seventh-graders from Erin Wraichette’s art class arranged nearly 600 paper pinwheels into a giant peace symbol on the front lawn of Griswold Middle School.  Wraichette said that every student in grade five through eight made a pinwheel as part of their exploratory unit in art, with the tongue-in-cheek theme of “Whirled Peace.” “We do something different every year,” she said.

“You had to cut it out as shown, but you could design them however you want,” explained student Keyana Rubino. Each student at GMS decorated a pinwheel, and adorned it with words like "peace," "friends" and f"aith." “Some of them are really colorful,” she said.

In Norwich, Youth Against Bullying had a Peace Circle on the Norwichtown Green in conjunction with the Meetinghouse Rock fall festival. Norwich Bully-Busters director Debbie Kievits said that young participants were given colored chalk and asked to decorate a peace sign with words and designs expressing peace on a personal level, as well as in the wider world.

According to the event’s website, International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations’ General Assembly and first observed in September 1982. In 2002, the date for the annual International Day of Peace was permanently set for Sept. 21.

“It’s having a weapon and making a willful decision to put it down – swords into plowshares,” said Tortora. “The thought that this takes place around the world is very intense. We’re part of something on a grand scale.”


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