A "Peace Pole" that was the result of a yearlong project undertaken by Girl Scout troop 61152 from The Hills was unwrapped on Friday at the Mount Prospect Elementary School, with students gathered outdoors in the bright sunshine to see the result.
The cedar pole has "May Peace Prevail on Earth" written in four languages on narrow plaques attached to each on each side.
The languages are English, Hindi, Chinese and Spanish, and troop leaders said the ten fifth graders involved in the project last year researched the most commonly spoken languages in the K-grade 5 elementary school.
"This is the beginning of many other activities we are going to do for the garden," said Mount Prospect School Principal Judith Slutzky, referring to a Learning Garden installed at the school last year that has been developing since that time. The garden is in an expanse of lawn between two school wings, and is visible from Hansom Road at the side of the school.
"They're fantastic role models for the whole school and the community," Slutzky added of the Girl Scouts, all fifth graders at the kindergarten through grade 5 elementary school.
The project earns the ten girls a bronze award, the highest level possible for junior Girl Scouts.
"It will be a little legacy to the fifth grade scouts," as well as the school and community, said troop co-leader Lois Taddeo. However, she said the cedar post is supposed to be maintenance free.
"Last year in fourth grade, our Girl Scout Handbook mentioned the idea of a Peace Pole," one of the girls, Sydnee Schapiro, said while the girls each read a comment describing the project, and its inspiration. "Our troop decided that here at the Mount Prospect Learning Garden would be a great place for such a pole," she added.
"Peace Poles such as this one have been erected in countries all over the world," said Katherine Polos, another scout. "These peace poles serve as constant reminders for us to visualize, pray, and work for world peace."
"We hope that this permanent monument will remind everyone to think about peace and kindness in the world," said scout Claudia Taddeo.
Other girls spoke about their quest to earn a bronze award, and the hope that the Peace Pole will promote kindness and peace.
"During our fifth grade year our troop hopes to set good examples of how to show kindness and peace to each other," said Nikki Paniccia. "At our first school assembly we pledged to work with the Character Development Committee to promote ideas of kindness," she said.
"Our troop would like to encourage all students to do acts of kindness," said student and scout Jane Mercer. "You can say hi to someone new, thank a teacher, or open a door for someone. It’s easy – let’s all start today."
Co-leader Liz Mercer said Lines & Letters Sign Co. of Bridgewater provided materials, and Nature's Apprenctice provided a landscaping design around the Peace Pole. She said the girls raised the money themselves to pay for the small monument.
The Girl Scouts involved are Jane Mercer, Alicia DeMarchi, Claudia Taddeo, Molly Marazita, Helena Matarante, Nikki Paniccia, Sonali Pai and Sydnee Schapiro, Alexandra Venturi and Katherine Polos.