Peekskill Middle School has been engaged in peaceful activities. Read below for more information from the school district on the program:
For the last week at Peekskill Middle School, peace talks have been in the air. To participate in the global observance of “Peace One Day” a worldwide initiative to bring about an end to violence and conflict, Amir Thornell and Peekskill Middle School teachers have organized “Peace in Peekskill,” a week of days in which students think about how to behave more peacefully, both in and out of school.
“Peace One Day” was founded in 1999 by Englishman Jeremy Gilley and adopted shortly thereafter by the United Nations. Each year on September 21, a new initiative to encourage the cessation of conflict is introduced. Participants in the program, which has spread to most of the 192 UN member countries, can use a variety of ideas to celebrate peace in their own way.
At Peekskill Middle School, Amir Thornell is a social worker in charge of Margaret’s Place, a counseling center for students struggling with violence in their homes, schools, and communities. The Margaret’s Place Centers in schools across the area are funded by Joe Torre’s Safe at Home Foundation, in honor of Mr. Torre’s mother, Margaret. “A day and even a week of thinking about peaceful solutions and feeling connected with similar efforts around the world is very much in keeping with the goals of Margaret’s Place,” Mr. Thornell explains, and Peekskill Middle School Principal David Fine concurs.
At a lunchtime assembly on Wednesday, Mr. Thornell asked students to share their suggestions for creating peace. Syncere Claxton said: “Help kids in need.” Katherine Villa felt that a peaceful thing to do was “Helping my sister with her homework.” Other students chimed in with: “Don’t fight,” “listen and step in when friends are upset with each other,” “find ways to get people who disagree to talk it over.” The students cheered for each other’s suggestions and wrote all the ideas down on large posters.
Other peace projects taking place include the sixth graders forming a human peace sign in gym class. The eighth grade art classes and teacher Patricia Roldan made “Peace” posters that decorate the entire school. And a highlight for this year was the idea of playing soccer for peace, along with children all over the world, with “One Day, One Goal” as the motto of playing for peace.
Next year, the Peace One Day organization is aiming for the ambitious goal of ”Global Truce 2012,” with a day on which participants in every armed conflict will lay down their arms. At Peekskill Middle School, Mr. Thornell assures his students that they will be working hard again next year to bring about peace and harmony in their school and in the world.
Photo provided by Peekskill school district: Dr. Fine and Mr. Thornell join students in the Peekskill Middle School cafeteria.