Fair Street School neighbors watched waves of excited children march by Friday as the entire school paraded with signs, flags and giant, handmade doves chanting “We want peace! We want peace!”
Fair Street School was celebrating International Day of Peace, established by the United Nations in 1981.
Every student has been working on peace-themed projects in their classrooms since the school year began, and Friday, they came to life.
“It birthed out of the art room,” said art teacher and parade organizer Tracy Troutman. “The projects the kids created integrate the arts with literature and history and culture.”
Each grade level used different literature to center their work around, like “Sadako and the Thousand Splendid Suns” and “Boxes for Katje.” From there, they learned what peace is.
“If you say one thing and do another, you’re not being peaceful,” said Khaliq Maddof, a fifth-grader who helped lead the parade.
A total of 660 students marched in the streets as families watched and some even joined. The mass of around 750 people total made their way from the school to the Chattahoochee Bank on E.E. Butler Parkway, where a group of students performed a dance and the entire school sang along.
“It’s actually the first time that we’ll be on the real street, and that’s all thanks to Tracy,” said Kim Davis, assistant principal of Fair Street.
The elementary school began the Peace Day Parade three years ago, when Troutman shared her idea with Principal Will Campbell.
“Her dream, her seed,” he said. “She deserves all the credit.”
She first thought of the parade seven years ago, inspired by Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots Program. Once she shared her idea, it was immediately approved by Campbell and put into action.
For the last two years, the students marched around the track. This year they got a permit to walk on the streets.
“Today, though, was really special because we actually walked through the neighborhoods of our school which was my dream from the beginning, so this was a really great day.”