Promoting peace is one of the core values at State College Friends School.
It’s the second word represented in the acronym “SPICES” that the Quaker-based school focuses on. The others include simplicity, integrity, community, equality and stewardship.
About 25 Friends School students participate in International Day of Peace project
And on Wednesday, as part of International Day of Peace, about 25 middle school students from the Friends School toured the Centre Region, spreading the message to the community.
“We work on these testimonies, and the peace testimony is the strongest,” Director of Advancement Lori Pacchioli said. “Today was the perfect day to bring that into the community. We’ve done other peace-related activities before, but nothing like this.”
The day started at 7:30 a.m. with students from the school’s Peace Choir and middle school performing a song they wrote and presenting student-written excerpts about peace on local radio station 98.7 The Freq.
Eighth-grade student Lilian Feinberg, 13, said she stressed the message that everyone should be peaceful.
“I just think it’s important because it helps make a community feel loving and safe,” she said.
Students, staff rode the CATA bus to get from place to place to interact with members of the community
Students then took a bus to downtown State College where they visited businesses and interacted with the public.
They sang songs and handed out more than 100 homemade cookies to passers-by. The cookies were in the shape of a peace sign designed by the students.
It’s just something unexpected that can bring a smile to someone
Lori Pacchioli, Friends School director of advancement
“It’s just something unexpected that can bring a smile to someone,” Pacchioli said.
Sixth-grade students Grayson Ruble, 10, and Lucy Witzke, 11, said participating in Wednesday’s Day of Peace had a positive effect on their lives.
Lucy said she was, at first, a little timid when interacting with people she didn’t know.
But those nerves soon went away when she had the opportunity to meet people from around the world, when walking around Penn State’s campus, she said.
She and Grayson said they hope the daylong peace program will be something the school celebrates next year.
“I think we should make this a thing we do every year,” Grayson said. “We’re raising awareness, and even though some people aren’t taking our cookies, we’re still seeing them pull out their headphones to listen to us, or just smile.”
The students also made their way to Foxdale Village to interact with residents, and wrapped up the day with a debriefing at the school on University Drive.
International Day of Peace was founded 35 years ago
“Just because Day of Peace is designated for today, doesn’t mean we’re not raising awareness every other day of the year,” Pacchioli said. “This is something we feel passionate about, and are lucky to be among a great group of (staff) and students who really embrace it.”
International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day, was founded in 1981 and started a year later by the United Nations to promote peace education.
It’s celebrated annually on Sept. 21.