Silver Bay Elementary School has adopted the mantra that by believing in the good in the world, we can make a difference.
Inspired by this message and its ongoing commitment to being part of the solution, the school hosted an event Oct. 17 celebrating the installation and unveiling of its Peace Pole, which has been permanently planted at the main entrance of the school.
“At Silver Bay Elementary, we strive to instill in our students that anyone, no matter what age or ability, can make a difference,” said Principal Mike DeVita. “It is a major goal for us to bring awareness to local families, schools, and this community that provides children with a sense of hope and pride. This ceremony was an opportunity to share a very meaningful message.”
Students, parents, district administrators, and local dignitaries were on hand to show their support. Fourth-grade students and Silver Bay’s multiple disabilities class shared expressions about what peace means to them through word and song; provided a brief history about Peace Poles throughout the world; and explained why certain languages were chosen for Silver Bay’s Peace Pole. These student-led discussions were accomplished using a variety of communication techniques for the school’s diverse population-- students used sign language during the songs and utilized augmentative/alternative communication devices to ensure their message was effectively conveyed.
Silver Bay teachers Ann Estelle, Joy Danelson, Lynda McGovern, and Rhiannon Dekker worked as a team to bring to life this culminating event that showcased to the community everything students have been learning about peace and believing in the good of the world.
Students began this journey of peace with lessons about the tragic events of 9/11, particularly how students displaced from their schools after 9/11 received thousands of peace cranes and messages from all over the world. This story became an inspiration to motivate the children to make an impact and affect change.
The fourth-grade classes took part in International Dot Day Sept. 15, during which they were taught valuable traits such as perseverance and tolerance, and shown that even the smallest dot can make a mark on the world. Lessons continued in the following weeks that further enhanced and deepened their knowledge of how to build a better world, including the collaborative creation of a Peace Pole.
“This Peace Pole will serve as a daily reminder to never lose sight of what really matters,” said Silver Bay Supervisor of Instruction Courtney Norcross.
Silver Bay students also participated in the Peace Crane Project Sept. 21, creating and exchanging letters and symbols of peace with other school children internationally. To help them acquire a deeper understanding of this international concept, on Sept. 24 students participated in the World’s Largest Lesson, which introduces the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals to children and young people everywhere, and unites them in action.
As part of its Peace Pole installation celebration, Silver Bay students and its school community raised a total of $466 to donate to The JBJ Soul Foundation, The Soul Kitchen community restaurant.