HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of children across Harrison County are sending out a powerful message about world peace by using a simple toy. Monday was "International Day of Peace."
Four Girl Scout troops from Long Beach and Pass Christian planted about 80-pinwheels at the town green in Long Beach. Earlier in the day, another group of school children turned their campus into a field of pinwheels.
Colorful, eye-catching pinwheels, 468-in all, twirling in the breeze. Students at Woolmarket Elementary planted the garden of pinwheels in front of their school to encourage the community to give "whirled" peace a "spin."
"We learned that peace can lead to people having better days. We can go out there and say peace is good and we don't want, like, war," said sixth grader Nicolas Junghann.
Each student at the school designed and created a personal pinwheel. Each one was decorated with a word, a phrase, or a picture that symbolizes peace and harmony.
"I wrote how we could give back to people who are less fortunate, or we can be kinder to people or nicer to our brothers and sisters," said sixth grader Sammie Smith.
"Say there's a new student at school, you should always be nice to them, try to make friends with them," said sixth grader Madison Cagle.
The students also expressed their feelings on banners, posters and peace plates. This is the school's first year participating in the annual global movement to promote "International Day of Peace." The art teacher never realized it would turn into such a life-changing project.
"We talked about children or people in the world not having a pair of shoes, and a lot of kids on their pinwheels wrote that they would give their shoes to somebody. And seeing them realize it's not just about me, that just touches me when I see that in them," said Woolmarket Elementary Art Teacher Mandy Smith.
"I try to be more optimistic everyday and treat others well," said Nicolas.
"It helps me understand that sometimes, I should be nicer to my brother or treat others better," said Sammie.
Smith hopes her students realize that even one person, no matter how young, can help spread a positive message.
"That's how we make a difference. We help each other. We talk to each other. We promote it, and we're there for each other, the better the world is," said Smith. "They're wonderful students and they each have amazing qualities and some of them don't recognize the good that they have inside."
Smith said she wants her students to put their words into action. She plans to start a community project, like making blankets for orphans.