Last Thursday, an estimated 500 Rappahannock County Elementary School (RCES) students and staff, dressed in mostly white, gathered on the school’s soccer field and created a human sculpture of a peace sign in honor of the International Day of Peace.
“Certainly, all of us are aware of the violence in the world that has forced millions of people to flee their homes and their countries in the last few years,” Kathy Zehr Rhodes, RCES school psychologist, said of the schoolwide effort to promote peace. “Although the peace emblem reminds many of us of the 1960’s and 1970’s, our dream of peace for our world has not gone out of style.”
Rhodes, for example, said her “personal dream for peace may seem modest but important.”
“I want to support our school staff,” she explained, “as they partner with parents to grow future Rappahannock citizens who know their neighbors and help each other in times of adversity; citizens who are engaged in their communities and choose creativity, flexibility, and collaboration rather than divisiveness and name-calling.”
Indeed, it was the RCES Bullying Prevention Committee that organized the event.
“I want our students to care passionately about their world and express their opinions while respecting those with differing views,” said Rhodes. “These dreams for peace may sound lofty after all, but we can all play a role in guiding our youngest citizens in learning to build positive relationships, lend a helping hand, and respect classmates who look a little different than themselves. Peace begins in our homes . . . and in our schools.”
Lain Carney, of Pen Druid Brewery in Sperryville, captured the amazing aerial photographs.
— Holly Jenkins