"I think peace is sharing with others and not hurting anybody," said one Ninety-One School student in a video presented at the school's peace assembly on Wednesday, May 29.
The assembly was the culmination of an entire school year focused on peace. The idea to hold the yearlong campaign was born after teacher Wanda Rohrer-Heyerly held a discussion with her class last year. Canby Rotary had solicited peace messages from school students for the dedication of their peace pole at the Canby Public Library. Rohrer-Heyerly's class quickly submitted their messages.
"And then as my class discussed it afterwards, I realized, wow, this is impacting them," Rohrer-Heyerly said.
Soon, the whole school was on board to focus on peace, a perfect follow-up to the prior year's kindness campaign.
During the assembly, other students shared their take on peace, the choir sang while younger students performed sign language and students read poems about peace. The poems were compilations of ideas from the whole student body with descriptions of peace ranging from: "Peace tastes like a hot slice of cheese pizza" to "Peace feels like a warm-hearted hug from grandma."
The fourth-grade peace ambassadors, Audrey Hettwer and Emilia Ensrud, also shared a bit about why hand-crafted doves were strewn across the gym's rafters.
"Each student had a chance to place a different colored thumbprint on their class dove," the girls said. "This thumbprint represents your commitment to live out your peace work every day. Each student's thumbprint is unique. All of us show peace in our own unique way."
The school community collaborated to create one special peace dove for Boones Ferry Primary School as a thank-you for sharing the peace dove idea with Ninety-One School. Audrey and Emilia, with the help of school counselor Colby Scheer, delivered the peace dove to fellow peace ambassadors at Boones Ferry Primary the following week.
The assembly ended with the dedication of Ninety-One School's brand new peace garden. Former Ninety-One student and soon-to-be Eagle Scout Kaleb Ferriss helped put the garden together as part of his Eagle Scout project. In the garden are three peace poles with the words "May peace prevail on earth" printed in 12 different languages.
To help dedicate the peace garden, students in the school wrote peace messages on index cards. Peace ambassadors from each class placed the messages in a hole in the ground of the garden, creating a peace foundation.
"I want you to know this is not just a Canby thing," Rohrer-Heyerly told the students at the assembly. "It's not just an Oregon thing. It's not even just a United States thing. There are over 250,000 peace poles all over the world. And the reason people are putting these peace poles in the ground is to show that it's a universal message no matter what our backgrounds, our cultures, our faiths—we all want to work together to create peace wherever we are."