Saturday, Sept. 21, marked the ninth annual "Pinwheels for Peace" celebration. It is a day when people create their own pinwheels and write their thoughts about "war and peace / tolerance / living in harmony with others" on one side of their pinwheel and then displaying them.
Pine Island Elementary School celebrated its "Pinwheels for Peace" day one day early on Friday, Sept. 20.
Diane Sporney, 1st grade teacher at Pine Island Elementary School, said, "I first heard about 'Pinwheels for Peace' about five years ago. I thought it was a great message and that the message of 'peace' would reach anybody of any age. So I suggested it to the principal and he managed to get it approved."
Marza Hiatt, a student in Ms. Benjamin's 4th grade class, holds her pinwheel
The original idea started in 2005 with two art teachers, Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, who teach at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, Fla., as a way for their students to express their feelings about what's going on in the world and in their lives. The project was quickly embraced by their students and the entire school community and by millions of art teachers, teachers, parents, children and adults who desire peace in our world.
As the idea spread there were a variety of activities and organized events all centered around the theme "peace." There were celebrations in churches, youth services, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and, of course, schools.
At Pine Island Elementary School, students from Kindergarden through 5th grade spent time Thursday making their pinwheels.
Emi Kellum, a student in Mrs. Garris' 5th grade class, colored her pinwheel green for peace.
"I drew a flower stem and the a peace sign at the top of the stem. And I drew animals," she said.
Marza Hiatt, a student in Ms. Benjamin's 4th grade class, was awed by the whole experience.
"Just think about it. All over the world people are making pinwheels for peace," she said. "It's hard to think about it. I'm going to try to make someone peaceful today."
The message Marza wrote on her pinwheel is: "No matter what, you should live in peace; No matter what, you should love in peace; No matter what, you should laugh in peace."
Reegan Renz and Makenna Stearns are both students in Ms. Dooley's Kindergarten class. They said the day made them feel "peaceful" and "kind." Makenna colored a picture of a cat on the back of her pinwheel and Reegan colored a picture of her mom and dad because they "made her feel peaceful."
Sage Romero, a student in Miss Manguson's 2nd grade class, said the pinwheels were fun to make.
"I made mine yesterday in blue and pink and purple," Sage said. I put a giant peace sign and at the bottom I put a dog and a cat and the dog said 'I love you' to the cat."
In the courtyard there were dozens of pinwheels spinning in the wind as Principal Rob Mazzoli looked on.
"This has been a wonderful day, Mazzoli said. "I believe that this is a great opportunity for our students to show how important peace and kindness is to each other not only at our school, but throughout our community and the entire world."