Peace Pole Arises

Bellevue Interact Club completes installation

dyawger@mercedsunstar.comMay 21, 2013 

— Peace has descended on Bellevue Elementary School in Atwater.

A 10-foot-tall peace pole was dedicated Tuesday during midday ceremonies at the campus. It's a project of the school's Interact Club, which is sponsored by the Atwater Rotary Club.

Kristin Newman, a Bellevue teacher and Interact Club adviser, said the pole hopefully will remind students and the community that the school wants peace. She said her students worked hard to make it happen.

"This will remind them that we're peacekeepers," Newman said. "It's a lot of fun, too. I'm just excited; hopefully it will break down barriers, and I hope other junior highs and high schools do this."

Dorothy Bizzini, an Atwater Rotarian, said the pole has the phrase — "May Peace Prevail on Earth" — inscribed on in in eight languages. Rotary International has adopted the theme "Peace Through Service" for its worldwide programs.

Bellevue Principal Jennifer Hardy said the peace pole was installed in front of the school next to the flagpole. She said the focus of building community is part of the school district's Second Step program, and that the peace pole builds on that theme.

"It's great," Hardy said. "The students initiated the project to bring peace to the school and surrounding area. I admire them for continuing that emphasis."

Newman said the Interact Act Club students raised the several hundred dollars necessary to purchase the peace pole. There are 45 junior high-aged students belonging to the group, which is involved in many area community service projects.

Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or dyawger@mercedsunstar.com.

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