John Fenwick Academy Students Celebrate 'Whirled Peace'

'Whirled Peace' Celebration at JFA
Posted on 09/21/2013
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Students celebrate 'Whirled Peace' at Salem's John Fenwick Academy

By Alex Young/South Jersey Times 
on September 21, 2013

Whether it was being nice, loving their family or catching butterflies, students of the John Fenwick Academy shared with their classmates and teachers what peace meant to them at the school’s International Peace Day celebration Friday afternoon.

Students from pre-k to second grade descended upon the school’s front lawn to sing songs, read peace poems and wave the pinwheels they made to celebrate “whirled peace.”

Second grader Jayda Turner said peace is caring for each other, peaceful is loving your family and that her peace is sharing with friends.

It was the seventh consecutive year the school participated in the “Pinwheels for Peace” project, which was started by two Florida art teachers in 2005, according to the school’s own art teacher, Rebekah Cohen.

“We all are out here thinking about peace and trying to get along,” she said. “And I just like the whole atmosphere and the message that we’re trying to convey with peace day.”

The students designed and made their own pinwheels in art class leading up to peace day. The pinwheels came in all shapes and sizes, and the kids’ faces lit up when they started spinning in the cool afternoon breeze.

Cohen said that the project all started as a way for students to express their feelings about peace and things going on in the world around them.

The school also dedicated its Peace Garden Mosaic Mural which was completed in April. Cohen said that every student had a hand in putting it all together and she thought its dedication made the Peace Day celebration even more special.

After Principal Syeda L. Woods and Salem County Freeholder Director Julie Acton cut the ribbon on the mural, school counselor Karen Wright invited some second grade students up to the microphone to share their feelings about peace.

Maki Banks said peace to him was playing a game with his brother and not cheating.

“It means coloring in the shade, watching TV or going to the movies,” he said. “Most of all, peace means being nice to each other.”

Kaela Nichols said her peace is drawing with her friends at her house or playing outside.

“We like finding flowers in the grass,” she said “That is when I feel most peaceful.”

Even though the students got out of class to celebrate peace, Alyah Green said peace for her could be found right in a book.

“To have fun, I read under a tree,” she said. “ Today, it is fun to read to you and tell you about my peace.”

Lamont Milton drew a big roar from the teachers in the crowd with his peace. For him, peace meant following the rules and not getting an attitude with his teachers. But Lamont had another thing that was important to him.

“Peace means not getting in trouble and not being a bully,” he said. “That’s my peace. What’s yours?”