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Lakeville takes peace pole pledge

Holding Lakeville Elementary’s “peace pole” are students Robert Savich and Sydney Young. Photos by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
September 29, 2010 - In schools across the nation, the sight of students standing with hands placed over their hearts, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag is a familiar one.

However, on Monday, Lakeville Elementary students started a new tradition by reciting a different pledge to a utopian symbol.

Gathered before the "peace pole," students raised their right hands and recited a "peace pledge."

It went like this – "We, the learners of Oxford Community Schools, pledge to do our part to create a caring and kinder world. May peace prevail on Earth."

"We are now a peaceful school," declared Lakeville Principal Kristy Gibson-Marshall.

Donated by Lakeville's Parent School Council, "this pole is a symbol of our commitment to peace," according to teacher Christine Vince, the International Baccalaureate (IB) coordinator for Lakeville and Clear Lake elementaries.

She explained to students that in order to become an IB school "you have to show you're committed to making the world a more peaceful place."

The four languages spoken in Oxford Schools – English, Spanish, Chinese and Sign Language – are all represented on different sides of the peace pole. Each language conveys the same message – "May peace prevail on Earth."

"It is a point of pride," Vince said.

She explained that peace poles are "not something new" and "not something just for Oxford Schools."

"There are over 200,000 peace poles around the Earth," Vince said. "There are over 190 countries that have peace poles."

Peace poles can be found at schools, churches and even neighorhoods.

Each classroom will be asked to decorate a rock to be placed around the peace pole.

"By having each grade be involved, we're showing that it takes all of us to be able to do this," Vince said.

As part of the project, the students will learn about the IB program's 10 attributes that characterize successful learners – inquirers, knowledgeable, reflective, communicators, caring, thinkers, open-minded, principled, balanced and risk-takers

This month the school will focus on caring. "I think we're all pretty capable of showing we're caring," Vince told students.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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