By Kathy L. Collins

The students, staff, faculty, administration and parents from Apollo Beach Elementary School recently celebrated International Peace Day by planting pinwheels in front of the school. Each child made a pinwheel as a symbol of their wish for peace in their school, community and world.

Apollo Beach Elementary is a National School of Character. According to Margit Redlawsk, the school’s art teacher, “We stress to all students, in all areas of the school, how we can be responsible, trustworthy, kind and respectful. We connect our ‘no bullying’ environment to accepting others, and getting along with each other, even if we have differences. Showing good character is the way we will obtain peace in our school.”

The students worked on the project during their weekly art classes. They learned about acceptance and tolerance and how having tolerance is an important step toward having peace. The students also worked with the school’s Guidance Counselor Valerie Dickson, and they discussed the connections that acceptance and tolerance have to good citizenship and building good character.

Redlawsk said, “As an art teacher, I weave character into all my lessons in one way or another, while still teaching the grade level standards for the visual arts. In the production of the pinwheels during their art studio time, the students learned about the elements of art: line, shape and color. Using these elements, the students learned to create the principle of design: balance, more specifically radial symmetry. Their pinwheel had to have each of these elements in their design, creating radial symmetry. Even in the construction of the pinwheel, the students had to problem-solve in order for the pinwheel to work properly.”

Pinwheels For Peace is a part of Peace One Day “A Day of Global Ceasefire and Non-Violence,” founded by Jeremy Gilley, an actor turned filmmaker. Peace One Day is a non-profit.

For more information, visit www.pinwheelsforpeace.com and www.apollobeach.mysdhc.org.