Honoring Peace


This past week, Parker teachers and students spent time celebrating the immense accomplishments of the past few months of schooling by reflecting on PEACE and what it means to our community. Children arrived at school today full of wonder and anticipation, wide-eyed with excitement about the culminating day of an entire week dedicated to PEACE. Their joyful presence magnified our gratitude for the love and trust of this community we have created together.
Our Peace Week actually began late last Friday, when a handful of our teachers stayed after school and lovingly decorated our halls with twinkle lights, setting the tone of joy and wonderment for everything else that would ensue. Peace festivities continued into this week, with each class creating unique traditions that served the individual and age-appropriate needs of each group. Throughout it all, some powerful themes emerged that exemplify what peace means to our community here at Parker.
In Kindergarten, students explored themes of identity by mixing paint to match their skin tones. Each student then created a peace hand-print, which Leigh strung together into a nature-inspired peace mobile to adorn our hallway. Ashley’s 3-4 students created a community “Peace Station” where each student shared what peace meant to them. They then invited other students and faculty to visit and share their contributions. Similarly, our middle school created a space to share “Acts of Generosity,” inviting our community to share what they’ve done recently to help others. Spanish students across grade levels also made peace flags presenting what peace means to them.
In the 7th grade, Ian worked with his advisory to spread joy by creating a school-wide outdoor scavenger hunt. The class set up various stations with clues scattered across our 77-acre campus. The rest of our students enjoyed animated outdoor romps throughout the week as they worked with their classes to complete the course. Students in both our PreK and 5th grades crafted inspirational paper chains which they invited others to join, with each link displaying a message of joy, love, peace, hope, and kindness. Meanwhile, our PreK students also spent time outdoors, sharing a peace offering with nature by making and hanging birdseed pinecones in our woods.
Our entire school community performed in pods to produce a musical interpretation of the book “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters” by Barack Obama. This performance was recorded and will be shared with you shortly! In addition, Parker art teacher Claire Sherwood worked with students across all grade levels on a peace project to benefit the YWCA of Troy. Each Parker student made an original holiday card and ornament with the intention of spreading cheer to the YWCA residents. Claire will print small bundles of each card as a gift to the women, along with the original, enabling YWCA residents to spread cheer by giving others cards as well.
Finally this week, Parker was able to spread peace by coming full circle on a chapter that has been dangling unfinished since March 2019. Last night, Parker welcomed back our graduating class of 2020 for an Alumni Panel with our current 8th graders. This was the first time these now-sophomores have set foot on campus since the day they left before the shut down. We will share more of this experience soon in a future Snapshot, but needless to say, the joy of reuniting with these beloved students for the first time in nearly two years was both exhilarating and healing for all who were present.
Here at Parker, we believe that to learn is to celebrate, and to celebrate is to learn. This is why we dedicate an entire week during this season to celebrating PEACE. Every project and celebration undertaken in the name of peace all required considerable thought, effort, and participation on behalf of our teachers and students to complete. Parker students understand that peace is not merely an enjoyment of what is calm and beautiful. Peace is a state of being worthy of celebration, specifically because it can only be achieved through active intention. Peace is a process. Peace is participatory. Peace is purposeful. There has never been a time when this type of learning is more important.
Today, more than ever, we are honored to be a part of creating a better and more peaceful world alongside your children. We are so grateful for this incredible community of students, teachers, and families that comes together each day with the shared vision of using our talents to do our best for the world. The best is yet to come.
*Robert C. Parker School follows NYS guidelines and protocols for school safety during Covid.