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Friday is International Day of Peace at Lathrop Elementary School
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LATHROP – Lathrop Elementary School Principal David Silveira spent the summer completing a special project on campus. That project is called the Peace Pole.

On Friday, the Peace Pole will take center stage when the school celebrates International Day of Peace with a gathering of students and staff in the peace garden behind the school.

In an e-mail from Silveira, the early morning celebration will begin with a brief explanation about peace and the meaning behind the peace pole. Following that part of the program will be the release of white homing pigeons, symbols of peace, “as a sign of spreading peace.”

Members of the Parent-Teacher Club have also purchased “environmentally friendly balloons” onto which letters of peace from each class will be attached. The balloons, like the peace doves, will be released also that morning.

“This is our one-time opportunity to introduce our Peace Pole to our students,” stated Silveira.

The Peace Pole is part of the half-dozen columns called the Six Pillars of Character Counts that the principal completed during the summer break. They are planted in a grassy area next to a towering shade tree just behind the school administration office. Each of the roughly eight-foot poles is painted in a different color, with each hue signifying a different message. The idea behind the Six Pillars of Character is to instill in the students’ young minds the six ethical values of Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. The different vivid colors of the poles are intended to emphasize the message to the students: Blue for Trustworthiness, yellow or gold for Respect, green for Responsibility, orange for Fairness, red for Caring, and purple for Citizenship.

In the middle of the Six Pillars is the four-sided Peace Pole column. Written on each side of the Peace Pole is the message, “May Peace Prevail on Earth” written in the four languages that are most common to the Lathrop Elementary School Community – English, Spanish, Tagalog and Punjabi.

The Peace Pole project is an international project aimed at promoting peace around the world. It started in Japan in 1955 in response to what happened to Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan where the atomic bomb was during World War II. Today, there are approximately 200,000 Peace Poles erected in 180 countries on every continent.