Exploring Education at WIS
Peace-Promoting Prize-Winning Poets
Two WIS Grade 4 students—Derin and Ilaria—recently had the opportunity to travel to Atlanta, Georgia to be recognized as two of the winners in an international poetry contest about peace. They joined other winners to participate in the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. ‘I Have a Dream” World Peace Rose Garden.
The International World Peace Rose Gardens Project began in 1988 with the goal of promoting world peace by creating rose gardens in public spaces around the world. There are World Peace Rose Gardens in California, Italy, China, Mexico and Georgia.
As an extension of the organization’s efforts, children are invited to engage in several programs, including an annual Inspirational Messages of Peace Contest. Students around the world are asked to submit short poems celebrating peace; winning messages are memorialized on plaques and placed in the rose garden to be appreciated by visitors for a year.
Washington International School was invited to participate in 2017. Our Grade 4 students submitted entries, along with over 12,000 other children from California, Atlanta, India, China, Mexico and Palestine.
Eight WIS students (Zora, Charlie, Anton, Jennifer, Derin, Georgia, Aaricia and Ilaria) were selected as finalists, and received t-shirts and certificates for their efforts. In early April, the contest organizers chose two WIS winners from among the eight finalists.
Derin was thrilled to be a winner, especially because he considers Martin Luther King, Jr. a tremendous inspiration. “I like what Martin Luther King stood for in terms of peace. I didn’t dream I would win, but I am proud to have written a poem in his honor.”
Likewise, Ilaria was pleasantly surprised to be selected. “I used nature as my inspiration. Humans don’t realize how important nature is and I wanted to remind people that we should consider the beauty in nature an example for what we can achieve.”
In mid-May, Derin, Ilaria and their families went to Atlanta for a jam-packed couple of days. They attended a reception with some of the other student winners from the United States and China, and toured Martin Luther King, Jr.’s house.
The Awards Ceremony took place in the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where students recited their poems, and enjoyed inspirational messages from Martin Luther King III and others. The celebration concluded with the official unveiling of the poetry plaques at the MLK Rose Garden.
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