On Thursday, Sept. 21, the George G. Mason Elementary School in Tuxedo celebrated the 15th annual United Nations International Day of Peace. Each year the school participates in the worldwide event that brings communities together on a shared date to promote kindness, respect and empathy for one another, the school explained in an announcement.
The International Day of Peace was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. The first official event was held in September 1982.
The local celebration was a coordinated effort by Tuxedo students, faculty and staff. Art teacher Mark Stankiewicz designed this event and directed the literary and art installation.
Tuxedo fifth graders opened the ceremony by leading students in the Pledge of Allegiance. Principal Dr. Melissa Jean-Paul then addressed the community and spoke about the importance of unity. Children from all grade levels took turns at the microphone, reading poetry and sharing personal statements about living in peace that they had worked on in class with their teachers.
A melodic expression of unity came when music teacher Cailin Cienki led the fourth grade in a harmonious vocal performance of “Let there be Peace on Earth.” Joining in the festivities for the first time were the Tuxedo Universal Pre-K students who paraded in with “peace doves” made from handprints.
To close the ceremony, the young peacemakers planted paper pinwheels that they made in art class in a giant circle to form a peace sign on the front lawn. The “Pinwheels for Peace” garden created a temporary one-day art installation, as part of a tradition started by two art teachers in Florida who felt that pinwheels represented a time in childhood that was simple, joyful, and peaceful.