September 21 was International Peace Day and at Westwood Elementary and Bales Intermediate, peace became more than just a word. Kindergarten through fifth-grade students took part in an International art and literacy project, Pinwheels for Peace by “planting” pinwheels with messages of peace in a giant peace sign on the lawn of the campus.
Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started in 2005 by two 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, groups in over 1,325 locations throughout the world were spinning pinwheels on September 21st – there were approximately 500,000 pinwheels spinning throughout the world. This year millions of pinwheels were expected to be spinning in over 3,500 locations, including the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, the Middle East, Africa and South America.
Both schools came together in the Westwood gymnasium. A Pinwheel for Peace video played as the students entered the gym, followed by a moment of silence. Mr. Whitlock, assistant principal at Westwood, showed the Pinwheels for Peace world map illustrating the schools around the world who joined together to celebrate the day of peace.
Pinwheels of all shapes and sizes were decorated with the student’s thoughts about "war and peace/tolerance/ living in harmony with others" on one side. On the other side, they drew, colored, collaged, etc. to visually express their feelings.
The campus wore white to show unity for peace and the “planting of the pinwheels” ceremony was the students’ gift to the community.