Today marks the International Day of Peace, a day for promoting and strengthening the ideals. This year’s theme is Together For Peace: Respect, Safety, and Dignity for All.”
At Bakken Elementary in Williston, students made pinwheels and wrote their own unique messages on them–positive messages of peace and hope.
“I want them to learn that they can find peace everywhere but it has to begin with themselves. They need to find peace at school within themselves, at home, whatever they choose to do in life, they can find peace,” says sixth grade teacher, Lauren Stone.
The students wrote messages that encourged respect of others-
“I wrote be kind, no bullying,” says sixth grader, Heartley Rider.
-and promoted self-worth.
“Just be who you want to be. Be what you want to do,” says fellow sixth grader Christina Pray.
That message, Stone says, is particularly important for her students.
“A lot of times kids this age are terrified of trying to be themselves and find who they are and I think that’s a good message. To just be yourself, be who you are,” says Stone.
After students wrote their messages, like ‘Peace be with you’, on the pinwheel, they placed them on the front lawn of the school for others to see.
“Peace be with you is just to be peaceful with people,” says Bakken Elementary student, Garrett Gathman.
And the students hope the messages will lift spirits-
“Maybe if somebody is having a bad day, the’ll pass by and they’ll have peace,” says sixth grader Brindly Elwess.
Or enourage others to think before they act-
“Because last year there was a lot of bullying and stuff, so maybe if people see it, they’ll actually think before they do something next time. So I like this project,” says Bakken Elementary student, Hannah Leko.
And they also learned some lessons themselves.
“I’m going to try to be more peaceful with people and respectful,” says Gathman.
And when others stop and look at the messages, a project that began in the classroom might just make a positive difference in the outside world.
Bakken Elementary in Williston was the only school in North Dakota registered on the International Day of Peace events map. To see what other events are happening nationwide, go to internationaldayofpeace.org and visit the event map page.