How does peace intersect with sustainability and the environment? How can a small school with a commitment to global action promote the goals of “respect, dignity and safety for all” (this year’s theme for the International Day of Peace)? Our community explored these questions and more on Sept. 21, Peace Day.
Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace.
In Mackintosh Academy’s “Smart Village,” Peace Day has become a tradition in which all students take part in service projects that aim to create a more peaceful planet by nurturing community bonds and preserve our environment.
In math class that morning, students participated in a solar inquiry. Students examined the data from our school’s solar panels and analyzed it. They calculated and discussed how many gallons of water have been saved, how many trees preserved, and how methane release has been avoided by using solar power.
When they arrived at our all-school assembly, the students brought donated snack items that were arranged on the gym floor into the shape of a peace sign. These items were later donated to immigrant students who receive tutoring through North Littleton Promise and to the Jeffco Action Center.
To enhance the students’ understanding of the global community, the 5-6 class filmed and produced a video entitled “If the World Were a Village of 100 People.” The entire student body participated in parts of the filming that involved making “human bar graphs” that represented world religions, poverty, and access to resources. This video was an impactful visual representation of our global community and the issues that affect all of us.
At the assembly, special guest Lynette Myers from Colorado Environmental Leadership Program announced our Silver Leadership award, given in recognition of our “Smart Village” initiatives that focus on sustainability. Ms. Myers also spoke briefly about connection between environment and peace.
Students also decorated and contributed paper “feathers” for a peace wings display in the gym, with all the pieces coming together in a beautiful collage.
To conclude the assembly, the students and staff came together in a circle to sing “Go Now in Peace” before moving into each class’ service project. That afternoon, our PreK students created beautiful peace-themed cards, and Kindergarten assembled 30 buckets to be shared with our campus neighbors. The first and second grade class cleaned up our adopted park just south of campus on Prince Street. Third and fourth grade students visited the Highline Memory Care center to perform songs from their upcoming play and to work with the residents on a craft project. Fifth and sixth graders delivered treats to firefighters and police officers in the community, took the gift buckets to our neighbors and cleaned up our campus meditation walk. Our middle schoolers went to the Jeffco Action Center, where they volunteered in the clothing bank.
Our deepest gratitude goes to the teachers, parents, community members and students who all contributed to this day in which our students were asked not only to contemplate peace, but to enact and embody it.
“Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.” – Baruch Spinoza