Students celebrate with ‘Pinwheels for Peace’
By DEB WUETHRICH
The Tecumseh Acres Elementary School population of more than 300 students gathered on the school’s lawn lining Adrian Street Tuesday morning to celebrate the International Day of Peace. The students each had made a colorful “Pinwheel for Peace” fastened onto a new pencil.
Tecumseh Acres art teacher Jessie Lafountain said she first learned of the project when she saw an article in an art magazine. It was started in 2005 by art teachers Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan of Coconut Creek, Florida, as a way for students to express their feelings about what’s going on in the world and in their lives.
In the first year, more than 1,325 locations throughout the world were spinning pinwheels on Sept. 21 with approximately 500,000 pinwheels spinning throughout the world. By 2008, more than
2.3 million pinwheels spun in 3,000 locations including foreign countries.
The project is non-political with peace not necessarily having to be associated with the conflict of war. It can be related to violence/intolerance in daily lives to peace of mind.
“I think it’s a great idea for kids,” said Lafountain. “They can represent themselves and their art work and learn about getting along with others and about peace,” she said. “They can learn about tolerance, and the project makes them do some writing, too.” Students wrote their thoughts on the back of the pinwheels with words such as love, help, friends, peace, nice, safe, and freedom.
At 9 a.m., the Tecumseh Acres students filed onto the lawn in front of a special banner that was made for the occasion. Some held their pinwheels up to the accommodating wind, while others blew on them. Then, as a group, the students planted their pinwheels into the ground.
“Good job!” Tecumseh Acres Principal Carl Lewandowski said to the students as all pinwheels were placed in rows alongside the sign. He said that the school hoped this would become an annual event with Tecumseh Acres joining millions of other students to mark the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21 worldwide.
“When people drive by they will see our sign,” said Lewandowski.