Students plant pinwheels for ‘Whirled Peace’

Karen Moewe for IVC District 321
A member of the Everyday Leadership class at IVC displays the pinwheel pattern distributed to each school and one of the pinwheels decorated by a South School student. All district students were asked to decorate a pinwheel with pictures and message of peace. IVC Leadership class students will create the finished pinwheels for the South School students because making the pinwheels require the use of actual pins. The pinwheels are on display at each district school today.

The Illinois Valley Central High School Everyday Leadership Class has taken on a community service project which will continue an anti-bullying message started by the previous Everyday Leadership class in the spring semester.

The class community service project is participation in Pinwheels for Peace, hosted in conjunction with International Peace Day, today, Sept. 21. The class project includes a pinwheel for each student in the IVC District.

The 24-member class has visited all schools in the district to ask each student to “decorate” a pinwheel with pictures and message they feel represents peace.

The goal of the Everyday Leadership Community Project is to generate discussions about peace and anti-bullying.

To that end each school will have a decorated pinwheel for every student “planted” at their school on Sept. 21.

Many members of the Everyday Leadership class have already seen the effect of the project. The class went to South School to discuss the project and ask the students to “decorate” their pinwheels. During the presentation the kindergarten through third grade classes were asked if they knew anyone who had been affected by bullying.

“I thought it was kind of sad that about 80 percent of the little kids raised their hands,” said Everyday Leadership class member Daniel Heinz.

The high school students asked the South School students to go home and talk about peace and the anti-bullying message of the project.

“I talked to the parents of one of the kids from South School, and they said they talked about the project that night at home,” class member Seth Kirchner said.

Before leaving South School, the high school students took the opportunity to remind the elementary school students about the Peace Pole at their school and challenged the students to do something nice for someone every time they see it.

The IVC District will contribute about 2,175 pinwheels to the international project, which is estimated to plant 6 million pinwheels on International Peace Day.

According to the website, Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started in 2005 by two Art teachers, Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, of Coconut Creek, Fla., as a way for students to express their feelings about what’s going on in the world and in their lives.

In the first year, groups in more than 1,325 locations throughout the world were spinning pinwheels on Sept. 21 — there were about 500,000 pinwheels spinning throughout the world. Last year, (year six), 2010, more than 3.5 million pinwheels were spinning in more than 3,500 locations, including the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, the Middle East, Africa and South America.

Everyday Leadership class instructors Matt Chapman and Mark Kosinski said the project was broken down by schools in the district with student committees for each school. Students organized their presentations to students and teachers at each school, sought donations of pencils for the pinwheel stakes, and coordinated the copying and distribution of pinwheel patterns. They are also constructing the pinwheels for lower grades because the pinwheels

require actual pins.

Everyday Leadership class members were pleased to report the project support shown by school administrators and teachers.

Class members invite the public to visit their local schools to see the pinwheel gardens and to generate discussions about anti-bullying and peace their own homes.

For more information about Pinwheels for Peace visit the website at pinwheelsforpeace.com.