First Place, Andion Dizon, gr. 5, Colonial Trail ES, Henrico Co. Public Schools
Second Place (tie), Ashwin Prabu, gr. 5, Colonial Trail ES, Henrico Co. Public Schools
Second Place (tie), Sarah Nicole Bender, Colonial Trail ES, Henrico Co. Public Schools
Perisa Ashar, gr. 4, Colonial Trail ES, Henrico Co. Public Schools
Caroline Crowley, gr. 5, Colonial Trail ES, Henrico Co. Public Schools
Isabel Kump, gr. 4, Colonial Trail ES, Henrico Co. Public Schools
Rebecca Mann, gr. 5, Clover Hill ES, Chesterfield Co. Public Schools
Ashanti Rives, gr. 4, Walnut Hill ES, Petersburg Public Schools
3 Simple Words, 3 Simple Statements
“I am sorry.” “I love you.” “I forgive you.” In my eyes, peace is not just a word that can describe something or someone. They are the statements said above. Peace is the little things people do every day. There may be many different definitions of peace, but the most important one to me is the one my mother has taught me. My mother has always said that God tells us to forgive each other, give to others, and love each other. Does that not explain peace itself? Do those statements above not show peace? I think that if every single person on this planet lived by these three simple rules, and said those three simple statements everyday, the world might be ready to move onto the bigger acts of kindness such as stopping wars or lowering crime rates.
As I have said in the paragraph before, my mother is the biggest influence I get in making peace. However, my mother is just teaching me the will of God. God has given all of us the chance to be alive. We should use that chance to be nice to other people, to forgive them. When one little boy or girl says, “I am sorry,” the other boy or girl may start to forgive as well. Those little acts of kindness spread and spread until the whole world is contaminated with forgiveness. When I hurt my sister or my parents, I try to forgive them as best as I can. Once, I ripped a very important fashion book that belonged to my sister. I said that I was sorry and repaired the book with tape. Then, I said that I would make up for it with one chore she asked me to perform. So, I had to take out the trash for her for one day. In that example, one little mistake was forgiven and one little grudge that could have happened was reduced to smithereens.
The next rule of peace my mother has taught me is to give to others. I know the perfect follower of God’s rule for this one. In September of 1946, Mother Teresa found her inspiration of giving with God’s love to others. She cared for the sick, poor, and elderly without a moment’s hesitation. Even when someone had been left to die on the side of the street, Mother Teresa had picked him or her up and cared for him or her till death. That is truly an act of kindness that can bring peace to others around you. Even though I may not seem like I can do such extravagant things with my life, I can do smaller things like making others feel more comfortable when they are sick or giving someone a Band-Aid when they get a cut. Small things like that can go a long way.
When people get married, they vow to always love and care for their husband or wife. However, some couples get a divorce and never love each other again. My mother has taught me that that is not how God wants us to bring peace to the world. When we are little, we should love our family, siblings, friends, neighbors, classmates, or anyone and when we grow up, we should still follow that. My mother has always told me to think before I do or say anything. I may think that what I am saying about another person is a joke while the other person might think it is an insult. That is showing that you care and love the other person enough to take the time to edit what you are about to say or do. Everyone deserves our love and has the right to feel loved. Going back to the paragraph before this, Mother Teresa showed her love and the love of God to everyone who had no one left to love him or her. We should do the same. Not just when we get married, but from birth to death. If everyone in the world cared for one another, think about how wars might be stopped or how crime rates could be lowered! When people say, “I love you” or “I am here for you,” things have already changed on the Earth around us. You have passed that gift of love and care to another person beside you and then they pass it on to another and another and another! Love can be contagious if you let it.
The Earth is a beautiful planet and the people on the face of the earth are beautiful as well. My mother has made a big difference in my life when she taught me the word of God. God wants us to follow those three simple rules, forgive each other, give to others, and love each other. We cannot wait for someone like Mother Teresa or Mahatma Gandhi to jump-start the spreading of peace. People like you and me can do that in the little words and statements we say every day. My mother has really given me the biggest influence in my life to making peace. She has taught me to always follow what God wants you to do. We may already have our future in our minds, but we cannot pursue that future until we can learn to forgive, give, and love everyone. Only when our hearts are open for giving forgiveness and love can God tell us what we are meant to do on this planet. Only then are we ready to really bring peace to the world. “I forgive you.” “I love you.” “I am sorry.”
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Second Place (tie) : Sarah N. Bender gr. 5, Colonial Trail Elementary School, Henrico County Public Schools
Life is a book. Ever since Adam and Eve stepped foot on the Earth, the fate and history of humans has been recorded as one long story that won’t end for as long as we live. There are moments of peace, moments of war, moments of strife, and moments of pride. We are the next chapter. If we don’t improve the story, the next generation must clean up our mess. To do that, we have to have peace. Our lives are each an unwritten page. It’s our job to write on it the right way.
Imagine that you are a white person sitting on a bus. Sounds of commotion ripple through the still air. You peer outside through your dusty window. Policemen and black children are participating in a bloody battle. White men are rallying the police on. The children are hitting at the attacking police with their signs. You see a black woman cry out. One of the children is dead on the sidewalk, blood streaming from a round hole in his chest. A police officer puts a gun back in his belt. You see slogans such as ‘Peace for all’ and ‘Equality’ flash before your eyes, the blood stains of their carriers splashing on the worn cardboard. A grim smile crosses your face. Suddenly, the noise ceases. A tall, lean figure strides into the noise. All eyes turn to face him. Whispers fill the humid air. You turn, and your friends are gasping and pointing at him. The famous Martin Luther King Jr. has arrived on the scene. He stands in the middle of the group. Wordlessly, he kneels down, draws a cross on his head and blesses the dead boy. After that, he stands up and walks away. The crowd stands speechless, but the fight doesn’t continue. Everyone solemnly walks away.
The greatest peacemaker in history has just left his mark on the world. His chapter marks glory and a new age of peace. It would do us all good to follow his example. Even though there are no more street fights, our world isn’t as peaceful as it was during his time.
There’s no better way to prove that then to highlight the events of September 11, 2001. Osama Bin Laden and his men hijacked 4 planes. Two crashed into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan (Twin Towers), and the buildings collapsed within two hours of the crashes. The buildings became a mass of falling debris and flame, leading to the partial or complete destruction of all the other buildings in the World Trade Center and 4 buildings in it’s immediate area. The third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC, destroying it’s western side. The last plane crashed into a field as the passengers attacked the hijackers aboard. After these attacks, all 19 hijackers and all of the civilians aboard the planes died, as well as hundreds of people working in the attacked areas.
While history boasts a golden age of peacemakers, but a record number of fatalities and casualties because of violence, present day has no shortage. The one difference is that today, violence may happen for no reason.
On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza secured the fates of 20 children, 6 adults, hundreds of families, and an entire community. Those children had done nothing to hurt Adam. One family whose child had been taken lived across the street from the Lanzas. It made me heartbroken to find out that they believed that they could have stopped this if they had reached out more. I think that it would have made Lanza guilty, but I think that the action wouldn’t have been stopped. He had never learned about peace from his family.
Ever since I showed that I understood what my parents said, they have taught me all I needed to know about peace. I learned that everyone was created equal, and that we had gone through very tough times to resolve that issue. I learned that our words can be used to heal or hurt a nation. Our fists can only hurt. They’re there to help us pick things up, not express our feelings. We have to live life with a peaceful mantra, air, and attitude. I also learned that our actions rub off on others. I have used what I have learned to try and make the world a better place for all of the people I know.
I love my neighborhood. For the most part, everyone is kind to one another, and we have area parties with playful competition. Once, on the Fourth of July, we had a fireworks contest. My little subdivision was screaming and cheering for our fireworks ‘master,’ and the next day, my friend from the other subdivision admitted that they were doing the same. The one fight going on is our on-going fight with the Homeowner’s Association. From the day we first asked for a swim team, it’s been petitions, reasoning, and constant pleading. They won’t budge, and every summer, the fire is fueled by our enragement. Our neighborhood stands as a team, fighting for one thing. This may not be what many people believe to be a fight, but it is. It’s just a peaceful one.
The book of peace has many gripping chapters. It’s not just a history textbook. It’s a story, with villains and heros and several climaxes. Osama Bin Laden and Adam Lanza may have tried to destruct the peace tower in all of our hearts, but people like Martin Luther King Jr. will help us build it back up. Humanity has turned the page. We sit at the computer, ready to type up a new chapter in history. We are the characters. It’s up to us to decide if we’re good or bad. As we type, we have to decide. How do we want our story to end?
What? Peace is a Weapon!
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Second Place (tie) : Ashwin Prabu, gr. 5 , Colonial Trail Elementary School, Henrico County Public Schools
What is peace? Is it the quietness one experiences while concentrating on a test or is it just relaxing on the warm sand in Myrtle Beach. I asked my dad what peace really is and his response made me change my whole entire view of peace. He said that peace has many definitions. One definition of peace is the end of violence. Another definition of peace is to never use violence to show your emotions. He also asked me that have I ever thought of peace as an effective weapon against violence?
My dad told me that his grandfather was a freedom fighter under Mahatma Gandhi during the Indian Revolution and that he was a great person who used peace against violence. Then, I started to do research on Gandhi. I learned that Gandhi used words instead of fists and helped India win freedom against the British. Gandhi’s peacefulness spread all across the world. It also influenced Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, and many people across the earth to use peace, words and love instead of violence and war.
Next I researched about Martin Luther King Jr. I found out that he also used peace to prevent segregation between Whites and Blacks. He organized rallies and provided peaceful leadership to the African Americans to make Whites and Blacks be treated equally. “I have decided to stick with love and peace. Hate is too great of a burden to bear” was one of his quotes.
I wanted to research more great people who used peace against violence and I searched for Nelson Mandela. I learned that Mandela fought for multi- racial elections and that Africans will have the same rights as whites. He didn’t use violence or start a war against the apartheid. He used peaceful means and he won against the apartheid. Finally In 1994 Nelson Mandela won the first multi – racial election and became the first Black president of South Africa.
Finally, I found out that Aung San Suu Kye also used peace against violence. She is a Burmese freedom fighter who is currently fighting to end dictatorship in Myanmar. She has only organized rallies and gave speeches. She did not start wars or fights. Peace is really a great weapon against violence.
This lesson my dad has taught me and my research on all these great people has made me be peaceful in my community today. Whenever someone riles me or bullies me, I do not use violence to get back at them. Instead, I tell them that what they are doing is wrong and hurtful and it actually makes them stop. It is much easier than punching them back in the face.
What is peace I wonder once again………………… I think I know now.
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Perisa Ashar, gr. 4, Colonial Trail Elementary School, Henrico County Public Schools
When a country wins a war, I wonder if they really won the war. I think about that because even though a country “won” the war, they have still lost their weapons, wealth, but most important of all: precious human lives. I think when someone dies, while trying to defend their country; their family might be grieving about them because the person who died might be their mother, father, son, daughter, brother, or sister. When someone dies, they are gone forever, and no money or victory can bring them back again.
War also brings a Depression on both sides of a war. In a Depression, people lose their jobs, and they do not have any money to support their family’s needs, and more people perish every day. War only brings hatred and destruction. People need to solve conflicts in a peaceful way and not be fighting in wars.
Our war can also lead to another war. When I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. I learned that when Germany lost in World War I, they had to pay a lot of debt and they had difficult times. Then Adolph A. Hitler became popular, but when he came in power, he had a lot of hatred against Jewish people and he did cruel things to them and that finally lead to World War II.
One of the things that my mom teaches me about peace is to get to know and connect with people, even if they are from different cultures, religions, and countries. She teaches me this because it broadens my horizons, teaches me what other people are going through across the world, and how they are resolving their problems peacefully. For example, when I went to Kolkata, India we visited “The Queen Victoria Museum” and I learned how India got its independence from Great Britain, thanks to India’s freedom fighters. India achieved freedom by using nonviolence, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. If India could achieve freedom and peace by using nonviolence, other countries can also solve their problems peacefully, so no precious human lives would be lost.
My parents have also taught me to make friends from other cultures because they may look different from the outside, but inside they might be really nice and kind. If we respect each other’s cultures, we can all live in peace and harmony.
This year, I have more friends who are from different cultures. I enjoy playing with them and learning about their cultures. I also have friends from all around the world. I can call them every other week. I even have a pen-pal who lives in Niger. I write to her whenever I have spare time. It helps me understand their opinion; experience, and culture. Now, I have noticed that I am much more accepting of other people and also more open-minded to their point of view.
Whenever I have a conflict with one of my classmates, I control my tone of voice and I explain it to them in nonviolent way. If they are still rude, I speak to them in a strong, firm and, yet not in a hurtful way.
I think people should remember lessons that we have learned from previous wars, wise leaders and from our own experiences. These lessons have taught us to be more respectful to each other and to discuss problems instead of fighting about it. If people follow these rules, the word would be a very peaceful place.
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Caroline Crowley, gr. 5, Colonial Trail Elementary School, Henrico County Public Schools
I have no idea if there is an even greater solution for peace, but I have learned over my eleven years of life that religion is the true source of peace, love, friendship, and forgiveness. I was born and raised into a very religious Christian family, and my parents taught me to forgive and love everyone, especially my enemies. Why should we do this? To follow God’s example. We were made in his image, so we should love others as he loves us. This, and many other important life lessons, is the knowledge I grew up on.
When I say religion, I mostly mean Christians, but whatever religion you may be, if you feel peace when you practice it, that feeling of peace is what I am going to talk about.
As I walk into church, I feel a sensation of calming, relaxing peace. How I love to go to church and listen to the wonderful talks and the testimonies of others. This is my solution for peace. Many people say that family, friends, or happiness is the true source of peace, but religion ties all of this together. When you know that God is with you, you can feel happiness. When you go to church, you can pray and sing with you friends and family. It is my parents that have given me the chance to receive peace, but it is my religion that I have received it from. When I practice my religion, I feel like I am doing the right thing, and that my loved ones are proud of me.
Because of my family’s teachings, I have always wanted to be a good example to others, who may not be doing what is right. Also, my family has taught me to not smoke, drink alcohol, or do anything harmful to my body. This is a wonderful example of love, and shows that my relatives care about me so much, that they do everything they can to keep me safe.
There have been times in my life when I have been drenched, blow-dried, and warmly rapped around in peace and comfort. Just knowing that you are doing the thing, is better than the warmest, comforting, most indescribable bed you could ever crawl into. You feel peace. You feel and be loved. All you have to do is find a bright, illuminating example who you can follow to draw you nearer and nearer to light and peace.
When and where can you feel peace? Is it just when you are in holy, spiritual places? No. You can feel peace almost anywhere. I’ve had many experiences like this. Once, I was just sitting quietly in my room, and for some queer reason I felt relaxed. I felt relaxed from all the stress that had been weighing down my shoulders. Everything seemed very peaceful and happy. This is one example, but sometimes your feelings of peace are personal. Most of mine have been like that.
I always look at my life and realize that I am very lucky. I have a wonderful family that has taught me wonderful things that have brought peace into my life.
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Isabel Kump, gr. 4, Colonial Trail Elementary School, Henrico County Public Schools
What Peace Means To Me
When I think about peace, I imagine a blue sky with a rainbow stretched across it. Other people imagine the beach, the mountains, their favorite animal and other relaxing things. Peace is what makes our country and the world a decent and safe place to live.
My family has always told my little brother and me to be nice, caring, and peaceful. To me, peace is very important. It means not going around starting fights and arguments and making sure to have a positive outlook on life.
Without realizing it, my grandfather has influenced me the most on peace and is my role model. My grandfather is very nice and loving. When my brother and I get into a fight or an argument, my grandfather steps in, and without doing anything that might upset us further, calms us down and makes us feel better. Peace is also about being calm, which my grandfather is very good at. My grandfather is the best in the universe, and I have learned a lot from him.
Peace is also what helps our President and the government make treaties with other countries to keep peace between them. Without peace, the world would constantly be in wars. I’m glad we have peace, aren’t you?
You probably have heard about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown. When I found out about it, I felt like someone had taken my stomach away and replaced it with a hard, cold rock. I felt sick over all the kids that had been killed, and I felt very sad for the parents of the kids who had died. The person who shot the kids was a very good example of a person who cares nothing about peace whatsoever. He was cruel and heartless to commit the shooting and not even give a thought to the consequences-for himself and for the families of the kids who died-of killing all those people. I feel very sad also because there has never been an elementary school shooting in all of U.S. history except for the one at Sandy Hook. The President and the whole country was disturbed and grief-stricken when they learned of the shooting, and I am not sure if Newtown will ever be the same again.
Anyway, we can all learn something from the shooting: to always be peaceful and to never lose control of ourselves or take our anger out on other people.
In general, peace is very important and life wouldn’t be the same without it. We should all work to keep our cool and, as my grandfather taught me, to help bring about peace to others and the world.
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Rebecca Mann, gr. 5, Clover Hill Elementary School, Chesterfield County Public Schools
Peace is the most wonderful thing in the world. I don’t know what I would do without peace. I’m so glad my parents and family taught me about it. My parents told me to be nice and help others. All t he time, I follow my family’s lead. I want to be peace-loving forever.
Every day, I try in small ways to make the earth a better place. I’ve been nice and caring for as long as I can remember, so I don’t see why I should stop now. Almost every day, I believe that the more I help, the less horrible the world will be. I can’t wait to grow up.
Earlier in my life, I’ve done so many great deeds. Last year, with my friends, family and my family’s friends, I helped clean up and remodel an old lady’s house. Every year my community does a yard sale. Recycling old items and using less helps the world. Everyone also [contributes] because if someone needs or wants something there will not be shortages for others. Most of the time, when my friends are being bullied, I stand up for them. I love peace and hate wars. Wars kill or hurt the innocent. Like I said, peace is the best feeling ever.
When I grow up, I will help others in need. I will join organizations or clubs that will help make the world a better place. The clubs I’ll go to will help the world go green globally. I will join an organization where I can help others around me. I think Habitat for Humanity is a good one, and everyone is happy.
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LIVING IN A WORLD OF PEACE
Ashanti Rives, gr. 4, Walnut Hill Elementary School, Petersburg Public Schools
Everyone likes to live in a world of peace. I think this is important because it is very nice and can keep you away from drama. My parents have taught me many things about being peaceful, especially at school. They taught me to be respectful at all times and to walk away from drama and to never get involved in it. This affects my actions in school and in my community because they motivate me to do the right thing .This is very important because getting into drama will make you a witness or the one who may be blamed when there is a problem.
Peace is also important because being mean, rude, or harmful for no reason at all is not being peaceful. This happens at school a lot mostly outside, but my friends and I just walk away. My mom tells me this is the right thing to do. She tells me that to be peaceful it is important for everyone to get along within the community and at school. She also told me to never join a fight between other people, she tells me when this happens go tell a teacher. This can help stop the violence in our school. Pretty much all the people I know in my family tell me to never hang out with the wrong group of people because they may be the ones to get me in trouble. When my brother and I come over to stay at my grandma’s house she tells us to stop arguing, because it’s not nice and that one day we will need each other.
Peace is important in everyday life in many ways. You may even earn some peace in return of your kindness. You could be peaceful by
- Walking away from drama.
- Being generous to others.
- Involve people in a game or activity when they are left out.
- Talking out your problems instead of using violence.
- Respecting different races or culture and accepting everybody as one.
The World Peace Festival started in 2011. This festival supports peace and helps businesses and leaders all over the world learn about the importance of peace in our life. With their help, the business Ben & Jerry, that produces some of the best ice cream worldwide, began using their popular business and publicity to give back to their community. By doing this they hoped to make peace and better lives for their customers.
There are many ways to improve peace in our world. Businesses, schools, and even our communities must join together as one in order for this to happen. To do so, everyone must have the same goal for our nation. But most importantly………………. Everyone must say “YES” to peace!