MASSENA - Peace was the buzzword at Nightengale Elementary School as students came together to celebrate the International Day of Peace.
Officially, the International Day of Peace is today, but Nightengale Elementary School students moved activities up to coincide with their school day.
The celebration culminated on Friday afternoon when the entire student body gathered side-by-side on the playground field and lined up in the form of a human peace sign.
Sixth-grade teacher Carolyn Frazier said the human peace sign and the other activities were coordinated solely by the sixth-grade students.
They did all the planning themselves. I kind of helped facilitate things, she said. It was just the sixth graders planning it, but the plan was for the while school. The whole idea was to come up with the idea that children can change the world if they think about what they can do.
The students broke down into committees and planned a number of activities, according to Ms. Frazier. They had one week to plan everything and carry out their plans, she said. Their available school time included a portion of their science and social studies class - about 15 minutes a day.
Among the activities was a coloring contest for students in pre-kindergarten through grade three. It showed two students holding a peace symbol.
One of the girls drew a picture for them to color, she said.
The sixth graders also coordinated a hippie contest, inviting Nightengales students to dress up with some sort of peace sign as part of their wardrobe.
In addition, they went around taking pictures of other students who were celebrating the International Day of Peace.
They learned to be the photographer, Ms. Frazier said.
A contest to design a shirt for Peace Day was also part of the activities, and those designs are due Monday.
The students also worked with the Nightengale Neighbors parent group to provide Tootsie Pops to all the students, wishing them a sweet Peace Day, she said, and they are planning a soccer tournament.
The work done by the students fits with their science and social studies curriculum because they need to use their research skills, Ms. Frazier said. It also fits in the schools Nightengale Elementary Behavior System, she noted.
They invited every student at the school to join them at 2:30 p.m. on the playground to stand side-by-side in the shape of a human peace symbol.
The International Day of Peace gives individuals, organizations and nations an opportunity to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly.
The first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982. In 2002, the General Assembly officially declared Sept. 21 as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace.
Since its inception, Peace Day has grown to include millions of people in all parts of the world, according to the events website. Events are organized each year to commemorate and celebrate the day. They range in scale from private gatherings to public concerts and forums where hundreds of thousands of people participate.