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AT CORWIN, THE CYCLONES ARE GIVING PEACE, AND EQUALITY, A CHANCE

A Corwin student shows off the Peace Lantern he made.The messages that adorned the lanterns were succinct but endearingly heartfelt.

“Everyone deserves to have a good day.”

“The peace you put out into the world always has a way of coming back to you. And doing something small makes a big difference.”

“I wish everyone would have enough food and not be starving.”

“Everyone is equal and should be treated equal.”

“There’s only 1 world; we should take care of it and others who live on it.”

Together with complementary little symbols like “smiley faces,” peace signs and flowers, these words solemnly floated onto Lake Minnequa and symbolically, into a world thirsting for peace, justice and equality.

In all, 450 bio-degradable vessels crafted by fifth- through eighth-graders encouraging the world to “give peace a chance.”

Each year on September 21, the scholars of Corwin International Magnet School join the United Nations in the observance of International Day of Peace.

As declared by the UN General Assembly, this day is devoted “to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.” A Corwin student releases his Peace Lantern on Minnequa Lake

This year’s theme – “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world” – is reflective of the world’s ongoing battle against the pandemic.

As Corwin is an International Baccalaureate school, the Cyclones are encouraged to adopt the mindset of a world citizen, empathetic to the struggles and challenges being faced by millions across the globe.

“We really want our students to understand that their participation as a citizen in the whole world is an important part of what we learn here,” said Principal Ryan Masciotra. “It’s important for them to understand the impact each one of us has in making this a greater place to be for everyone: today and every day moving forward.”

September 21 allows educators to tie in instruction to Peace Day, its theme, and the fact that diplomacy and resolution should always take precedence over conflict and violence.

“Today we looked at the American Revolution,” explained Sarah Alexander, an eighth-grade teacher. “As a lead-in, we looked at forms of protest that the Colonists took against Britain and we also talked about how maybe there were more peaceful ways we could have handled it.

“So then we read several different viewpoints on the war with Britain, ending with a pacifist’s view -- that maybe we don’t need to have war but rather, find diplomatic ways to save the relationship.”

That lesson coincided with the placement of original, thematic messages and embellishments on the lanterns.

“I really am trying to impress upon them that conflict is not the answer,” Mrs. Alexander added. “We had a conversation about how we don’t have to have a conflict with our teachers and fellow students: that’s not the best way to proceed.

“We can have peaceful interactions with each other, and that goes for the entire world. So we are ending every hour with 5 minutes of peaceful reflection.”

Several Peace Lanterns floating on Lake MinnequaAdded Principal Masciotra, “Conflict resolution is a big piece in helping individuals to know how to deal with situations and how to interact and work through things together.”

If there is no equity in the world, peace will be hard to come by.

“Peace Day signifies peace of equity as well, in international terms,” Principal Masciotra said. “The Day also signifies an international cease-fire, which helps get medical aid, food, water and resources to countries that otherwise wouldn’t have it, because there is so much war and conflict happening.”

The culmination of the instruction, discussion and reflection were the encouraging messages designed for the whole world – especially the oppressed or those in distress – to read.

“Peace is important so that we can show people around the world that we care,” said eighth grader Reyanna. “It’s just good to be nice and kind to people and be respectful.

“That’s why I wrote, ‘It doesn’t matter what your gender or gender identity is, or skin color, you are still a human being, and nothing else should matter.”

Also an eighth-grader, Nahim said peace is important “so that we can have a better world, where people have kindness. I wrote that ‘peace should always be all over the world.’”