Marking Peace Day in Dyker Heights

Leif Ericson Day School commemorated the 30th annual International Peace Day with a school-wide celebration and ceremony on Wednesday, September 19.

Students and teachers gathered in the school’s front garden where Principal Christine Hauge opened with a speech. “We’re committed to creating a culture of peace and I pray the Lord helps us and uses us to make peace,” she said.

The small school has been observing International Peace Day since 2005. Peace Day was instituted in 1981 by the United Nations. According to the U.N. resolution that established it, it is a day that “shall be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.”

However, organizer and school Music Director Rita Pihra-Majurinen said the school’s intentions were locally oriented.

“We want the students to bring what they learn here outside of school and into their homes and families,” she said. “Peace is a choice; it comes from within us. Hopefully we can change one person at a time. “

What they learn extends far beyond just the activities planned for Peace Day. From religion class to physical education, “teaching peace is a part of our entire curriculum,” said Hauge. “The little ones coming in get it during the whole year.”

The students, from kindergarten through eighth grade, decorated paper pinwheels, referred to as peace pinwheels, earlier in the week. Each class planted its pinwheels in pots spread through the garden. “We’re trying to save the world,” said eighth grader Tristin Alexieff. “We plant them to show that peace can stay.”

A student and teacher duo from each grade read parts of a prepared speech while a student band performed “Peace like a River.” After the ceremony, the students hastily made their way back inside. A small crowd on onlookers, both parents of children and passersby, had quietly gathered.

Hauge said she was very proud of the ceremony and made very clear that lessons behind Peace Day would become an even bigger part of the school’s character. “This is what we base our mission on. This is what we’re about. It’s becoming who we are,” she said.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.