They’re not just pinwheels at American Lakes — they’re symbols of peace and student commitment

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It’s only a tiny paper pinwheel – what difference can it make?

A big difference, a profound difference, one heart at a time, hopes American Lakes Elementary School Principal Ann Veu.

Hundreds of tiny, colorful pinwheels were catching the eyes of passers-by and spinning a simple message of hope in grass beside the South Natomas campus today.

The pinwheels by Eagles students of all ages were “planted” on campus and adorned with peace signs or written messages of solidarity and love in honor of International Day of Peace and a companion project, Pinwheels for Peace.

“It’s a way for schools to join in and reflect on their role in the world and how they can create a peaceful environment,” Veu said.

At American Lakes, the project began a couple weeks ago, when teachers talked to their classes about the meaning of peace – not only world peace, an end to war, but inner peace and peaceful, caring campuses. Students expressed themselves with a  personal message about peace on the paper pinwheels they created.

Today, all grades attended an American Lakes school assembly where Veu stressed that while they may not stop war throughout the world, they can make a big difference in their own lives and at their school by making a commitment to be kinder, friendlier, more thoughtful. Together, as a student body, they can set a tone and create a culture of caring.

“All students want the same thing – and it really starts with you,” Veu said of her message.

Some of the pinwheels expressed a series of single words: “Love,” “Peace,” “Joy,” one read.

Others were simple but thought-provoking.

 “We are all equal in God’s eyes.”

“I believe we should all be nice to each other.”

“Color of skins do not matter. Friendship. Manners. Happiness.”

The pinwheels will continue to spin for about a week as a symbol of peace and student commitment.

Maybe Bob Dylan got it right, decades ago, with his lyrical refrain that “the answer, my friend, is blowin’  in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”