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Visual Peace Shared by Westgate Students

Arlington Heights, IL –Using paper, crayons, glue, pins and wind, students at Westgate Elementary in Arlington Heights spread a message so simple, yet so distant to some.Bali Esquivel displays his Pinwheel for Peace, pinwheel.

Monday, September 21st was the International Day of Peace and with guidance from their art teacher, Brenda Miller, students at Westgate created pinwheels for the tenth straight year to showcase the message of peace.

“We hope to help make peace more of a local movement for the kids,” Miller said. “We talk about how in the classroom, at home and in our community, we are all peacemakers. We want to facilitate the belief that peace is making friends and being friendly.”

This lesson began mid-week last week, but is something Miller has down pat. She begins by sharing a read-aloud, kid-friendly book titled The Peace Book, by Todd Parr. The students then discuss what peace means to them, and they get to express it visually on their own pinwheel.

Students show off their creative minds by drawing different designs, shapes and themes on their pinwheel stencil. Once that is finished, the fun construction process begins with folding, gluing and pinning of their pinwheel.

“The music teacher, the P.E. teacher and I take the kids out to display their pinwheels once they are all finished,” Miller said. “This is a way to start the year with the mindset that we are all peacemakers.”

The wind then takes over, blowing these colorful messages into action for all the cars and passer-byers to see down Dwyer Avenue. After the day is through, students get to take the pinwheels home and become the peace ambassadors of their homes.

Adam Harris