Blacksburg Middle celebrates ‘International Peace Day’
CHRISTIANSBURG – More than 800 Blacksburg Middle School students left their classrooms Friday and walked to the school’s recreation field carrying handmade “pinwheels for peace” to mark International Peace Day.
The large, green field had white lines spray-painted in the form of a large peace sign. Teachers quickly directed students toward the lines in order to form a giant human peace symbol.
Minutes later, a plane flew overhead and students raised their pinwheels in the air to have an aerial photograph taken. The school’s very own peace rally was a success and students seemed excited.
“Feel the power of peace,” one student shouted as the plane flew overhead.
One teacher said the last time he was at a peace rally; he had hair down to his shoulders.
It was that same, peaceful spirit that traveled from teachers to students and students to teachers that powered Friday’s event, which capped off an entire week of learning about global peace at the school.
The week-long event for BMS spawned from the nationwide movement called “Actively Caring for People” which began at Virginia Tech in the aftermath of the April 16, 2007, shootings.
According to their website, “Actively Caring for People embodies a large-scale movement that aims to establish a more compassionate, interdependent, and empathic culture within schools, businesses, organizations and throughout entire communities.”
The movement strives to “change the world with small intentional acts of kindness.”
“Peace just fits right into caring for each other,” BMS Counselor Michele Parker said.
“We are celebrating International Peace Day today, but it’s more of a cumulative event for us because we’ve been focusing on peace at our school for the entire month of September,” she said.
Parker organized the event for the school and said she will always remember Friday as the day the school came together, all focusing on the same thing. To do that with 900 middle school students is pretty neat, she added.
BMS Principal John Wheeler said teaching students about the importance of realizing they live in a global community is a part of the school’s curriculum.
“International Peace Day kind of goes in stride with everything we do and it’s an opportunity for us to come together,” Wheeler said. “I think anytime you create a new situation for kids to be a part of, it’s another experience in their life they can lean on and understand. “
Parker said the school is trying to focus on how they can care for each other and the week has helped those students learn more about what that looks like.
“They were excited to be part of something where everyone is doing the same thing,” Parker said.
“Today was the perfect day to pull everyone together and recognize that we’re part of a bigger thing.”
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