Preaching peace with pinwheels

Lacey: Nisqually Middle School students get creative, participate in popular International Day of Peace effort

lpemberton@theolympian.comSeptember 24, 2012 

About 160 colorful pinwheels carpeted the flower beds in front of Nisqually Middle School last week.

The whimsical decorations were part of an international art installation known as Pinwheels for Peace.

“There are kids all over the world, just like you, participating in this,” art teacher Ginny Lane told students Thursday as they set out to plant their pinwheels in the ground for the one-day display.

Pinwheels for Peace was begun in 2005 by two art teachers in Coconut Creek, Fla., as a way for students to express what was going on in the world and in their lives.

In 2011, more than 4 million pinwheels spun around the world, including in the United States, the Middle East and most of Europe.

Pinwheels for Peace was one of several projects Nisqually students did in preparation for the International Day of Peace, which was Friday.

During the week, several language-arts and social studies classes researched the history of the word peace and its various symbols, Lane said.

Some classes wrote five-paragraph essays and haikus about peace.

“It’s not about anti-war,” Lane said. “It’s about the whole general idea of what peace is – not just at the global level, but at a personal level.”

Lane’s art classes created pinwheels and decorated them with words and symbols that reminded them of peace, such as rainbows, dreams, love, neighbors, family, respect, dolphins, kittens and sunsets.

“I wrote about how peace is a sign of serenity and tranquility,” said eighth-grader Leah Yokley, 13. “I said peace is when everyone comes together and loves each other.”

Seventh-grader Miles Stepherson, 12, said he hoped the pinwheel installation would cheer up anyone at his school who was having a bad day.

He said they also could help teach people about the concept and symbols of peace. His pinwheel contained the words “caring,” “love” and “good environment.”

“I learned that peace can be anywhere around you,” Stepherson said. 360-754-5433 @Lisa_Pemberton

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