BROOMALL–Community diversity and peace prevailed at Worrall Elementary School on Sept. 11. The Worrall community gathered on the playground at the new nature garden planted for a Peace Pole ceremony in respect of 9/11.
According to Toni Himes, supervisor of Language Arts, Reading & Federal Programs in the Marple Newtown School District, the Peace Pole project is a way of promoting a positive culture in Marple Newtown schools.
A Peace Pole is a handcrafted monument that displays the message, “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in different languages. According to Himes, there are now 200,000 Peace Poles in over 180 countries and displayed on all continents. The project began in Japan in 1955.
"We plan to have one at each school," said Himes. "Each pole will exhibit eight languages, and the poles in Marple Newtown will contain 21 languages that represent the languages spoken by or taught to our students."
According to Himes, the district has about 80-90 students in the English Language Learners (ELL) program. Last year, 72 students were in the program with a handful of other students out of the program in post-monitoring or classroom support.
Janet Daly, elementary ELL teacher, stated each language was specifically chosen on the some of the most prevalent languages spoken at each school. The one common language on each pole is English.
The three most prevalent languages spoken at all schools in Marple Newtown include Chinese, Korean, and Greek. However, Italian may be also be one of the most prevalent languages spoken in Marple Newtown but, according to Himes, many students who speak Italian can also speak English fluently.
English, Arabic, Korean, Georgian, Swahili Vietnamese, Hindi and Greek are displayed on Worrall's Peace Pole. Each school in Marple Newtown will expect to have a Peace Pole displayed by winter and is in conjunction with each school's anti-bullying initiatives.
"It is our hope that these poles with this simple message can be planted in the Marple Newtown community and link us with the rest of the world in the spirti of peace, cooperation, and understanding," states the district in a press release.