Link Elementary students, staff and community members
celebrated the dedication of the school’s Children’s Peace Garden in advance of
Saturday’s observance of International Peace Day. Today’s event included a ribbon cutting and
official opening of the garden, which has been four years in the making.
The Peace Garden includes a Peace Pole in the center with flags created by the students with their thoughts on peace, pinwheels that line the path, personalized stones, benches and raised garden beds.
Principal Francine Cuccia said 23 years ago she thought of planting a yellow rose bush to symbolize peace and that over the years the idea grew into a magnificent garden.
“Peace begins with each one of us inside our hearts, inside our minds and through our actions,” she said. “And today we’re going to see some of the wonderful ways that you’ve thought about peace and you’ve spread peace within your classrooms, within your family and within your community.”
Kindergarten through fifth grade students took turns speaking about their class’s peace projects.
“We chose the dove because it’s the universal symbol of peace throughout the world,” said one boy as he held up a cutout of a white dove on a peace sign surrounded by a circle of rainbow colored tissue paper. “The different colors represent the diversity in our school and the warmth we share as members of the Link community
Kindergarteners wore headpieces they had decorated with peace symbols. Most of the students wore white the color of peace.
ESL Teacher Laura Hagen, co-chair of the Peace Garden Committee, said each of the raised garden beds was based on curriculum each grade level was studying. The garden planted by kindergarteners contained herbs, which fit into their study of the five senses. First graders learning about nutrition started with seeds that produced the ingredients for salads.
Second graders who were studying communities researched plants that are native to Rockland County. The third grade’s study of butterflies led to the selection of plants that attract butterflies. Fourth grade classes used their knowledge about Native Americans to create a section with corn, beans and squash – called The Three Sisters Garden.
Fifth graders studying where vegetables originated sowed a multicultural garden that includes plants native to each continent. In between each of the raised garden beds, Link families are planting perennials to develop a generational garden.
The bounty from the garden, tomatoes, peppers, green beans and zucchini, was donated in the spring to People to People. Christina Calandrello, co-chair of the Peace Garden Committee, said students would use the fall harvest for cooking and making salsa as well as a donation to A Row For The Hungry.
Calandrello, thanked the students, staff, administration and community for their contributions to help make the Peace Garden and nearby rock garden become reality including JP Landscaping and the Palmer Family, Landscape Solutions and the Scerbo Family, Pro Cut Landscaping and Red Hill Nursery. The Rockland Community Foundation presented a $300 Innovative Teaching Grant to sustain the garden. Sarah Resanovich, a Girl Scout, was recognized for painting the raised garden beds and Eagle Scout Billy Cuddy for building benches. Children who performed Peace Student Actions received awards.