CHILDREN at two Bournemouth secondary schools joined a global peace celebration and took to the playing fields to choreograph a famous symbol captured from the air.
As soldiers in some war torn countries laid down their arms to mark the International Day of Peace, students at Avonbourne and Harewood Colleges, part of the Avonbourne Academy Trust, marked the event with local themes.
They had talks from Bournemouth-based experts from organisations that promote respect, non-violence and care for others.
Pupils then took part in drama, music and art workshops to express personal thoughts on what they had heard.
Year 8 pupil Emillie Taylor, 13, who painted the international peace symbol, said: “Peace starts with what you say to others and that is important here in England as well as worldwide. You have to start small to think big.”
Among the visiting speakers was Andrea Johnstone from The Butterfly Foundation, a Bournemouth charity that works with families and young people affected by domestic violence and abuse. Andrea said: “Today is about thinking globally but we must also think locally. Peace is not just about countering armed conflict or physical abuse once it’s happened. It’s about encouraging healthy, positive relationships between people right here. The earlier you begin that process, the better.”
Other speakers came from Amnesty International, The Earth Charter, the Bournemouth Churches Housing Association and PACE, the Programme for Applied Christian Education.
The event was organised by Avonbourne teachers Naomi Cox and Natasha England. They were inspired in part by visits as teachers to the former concentration camp at Auschwitz. Naomi said: “We deliberately wanted to focus what is a worldwide day of celebration and make it personal and local for the children. It was an opportunity for students to stop and think for a day and gain understanding of what peace means for them, their communities and globally.”
The event was topped off with a helicopter fly-past to gain an aerial photo of pupils from both schools configured into the peace symbol on the ground.
Avonbourne headteacher Debbie Godfrey-Phaure said: “Our students are truly global citizens. They have a heart and soul for their community and the world we all live in. I am very proud of them.”