Elementary school students celebrate peace

KAPA‘A — Peace was injected into the fun run for more than 900 students Friday at the Kapaa Elementary School.

The school normally hosts its PTSA Fun Run/Walk to promote physical fitness, school spirit, and to raise funds for school-related programs.

“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said Becky Umakoshi, the Kapaa Elementary PTSA president.

The funds generated by the event are used to help with the after-school programs, repair damaged playground equipment, purchase schools supplies and help with the Dolphin, the school’s mascot, Club.

Umakoshi, along with several volunteers, was busy preparing snacks of fresh fruit for the Kapaa Elementary School students who turned out to do two laps around a specially-designed and decorated course on the upper campus.

“This year, in addition to this being the 20th PTSA Fun Run/Walk, it just happened to coincide with the International Day of Peace,” said Michelle Jenkins, the school’s physical education teacher and student council advisor. “I found out that Wendy Benton, our school art teacher, was working with students in the third through fifth grades in creating pinwheels for peace.”

Umakoshi said the fun run was scheduled before anyone realized it was the International Day of Peace, and once they learned of the coincidence, decided to incorporate lessons of peace.

They used the student-created pinwheels to create the special course where students could run after reciting a pledge of peace.

“Our student leaders are from the student council,” Jenkins said. “Some of them made pinwheels. The fruit snacks were all donated from the community and the Esaki family and Kauai Banana Co. donated enough banana to take care of the school.”

Jenkins told the students the International Day of Peace, also known as Peace Day, was first celebrated in 1982. It is a day for individuals, families, communities, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared day.

Peace is calm, quiet, tranquil and harmonious, the teacher told the students.

“Today, I want you to pledge to do something nice for someone,” she said. “Today, Kapaa Elementary School participates in a worldwide event to encourage peace and kindness, everywhere. Tomorrow, when it is Peace Day, do something nice for your family, and as a family, do something nice for someone else.”

By reciting the peace pledge, Jenkins told the students, you show everyone that the students at Kapaa Elementary are committed to making our school, our community, and our world a more peaceful place.

Each classroom sported a flag in rememberance of this United Nations international celebration of peace, and each of the students wore wristbands which stated “Peace One Day!”

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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