Peace Day

Westwood and Bales celebrate Peace Day

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. Locally, Barbara Gruener,
Westwood counselor, will be coordinated the Pinwheels for Peace project this year.

This project is non-political – peace doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with the conflict of war, it can be related to violence/intolerance in daily lives, to peace of mind. To each, peace can take on a different meaning, but, in the end, it all comes down to a simple definition: “a state of calm and serenity, with no anxiety, the absence of violence, freedom from conflict or disagreement among people or groups of people.”

Families at Westwood and Bales did their homework last week as they discussed
what it meant to be a peacemaker and then created their pinwheels. Pinwheels of all shapes and sizes – as part of the creation process, the students wrote their thoughts about “war and peace / tolerance/ living in harmony with others” on one side. On the other side, they drew, painted, collaged, etc. to visually express their feelings. “We hope the spinning of the pinwheels in the wind will spread thoughts and feelings about peace throughout the country and the world!” Gruener said.