Pinwheels and Performances in the Name of Peace

Pinwheels and Performances in the Name of Peace  thumbnail135691

A tranquil sunny morning invoked feelings of peace at Amityville Memorial High School on Sept. 20, as the school hosted its 10th annual World Peace Day celebration. More than 100 students gathered on the front lawn to pledge their commitments to peace, through the placing of colorful pinwheels in the ground.

Members of the National Art Honor Society, which organized the event, spoke about the meaning of World Peace Day, which is observed in many nations. Amityville joined two international organizations that advocate globally for ceasefire and nonviolence, Pinwheels for Peace and Peace One Day. Student Joshua Fernandez asked all of his peers to reflect on the question, “Who will you make peace with today?”

“The purpose of this day is for all walks of life, all over the planet, to set aside our differences and to promote a culture of peace and to improve humanity,” Principal Edward Plaia said. “After all, when people get together regardless of race, religion, sex, socioeconomic status or age, we often find out that we have many more similarities than we do differences.”

The event was organized by Director of Fine Arts Dr. Fran Fernandez and art teacher Jayne Grasso. It featured several student performances including poetry readings and songs. Students from the Latino Club, advised by world language teacher Elisa Castro, shared messages of peace. The Warrior Awareness Club, commonly known as the WAC PAC, had its annual peace rock ceremony. Adviser Jason McGowan said it is a “pay it forward” initiative, in which the painted rocks are continually passed along. Several students presented peace rocks to others who have inspired them, including friends and teachers.    

Students formed a human peace sign on the front lawn of the school and created an art installation by putting their pinwheels in the ground, also in the shape of a peace sign. Three students were recognized for their pinwheel designs: Estephany Barrera, most colorful; Serraia Goodman, most creative; and Kevin Zelaya, most meaningful. National Art Honor Society members said the pinwheels placed in front of the school that morning would be among several million spinning around the world in the promotion of peace.