In the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Marymount of Santa Barbara is finding reasons for compassion, hope and unity with its weeklong celebration of the U.N.’s International Day of Peace on Sept. 21.

“Part of our vision as a school is to empower individual potential, inspire purpose beyond self, and cultivate social responsibility,” said Jannine Tuttle, director of academic innovation. “Using this as inspiration, we decided this year we would focus on the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and one of those goals is peace.

“It made perfect sense to celebrate a day of peace to unify our community and focus on the power that we as individuals can collectively have.”

Students from junior kindergarten to 8th grade will engage in a variety of activities throughout the week aimed at fostering that sense of peace both within themselves and on a global scale.

At noon on Sept. 21, students will join people around the world in a minute of silence, reflecting on those who have fought for peace, those who lack it in their lives, and what they can do to make a more peaceful world.

Marymount students will also accompany the thousands of people who shape origami cranes each year as an expression of hope for a world at peace. Students in lower grades will make hearts and other symbols most accessible to tiny hands. All pieces of art will include a message of peace written by students.

The origami creations will go to their Peace Pals in Norway and Hong Kong as part of a global exchange.

“I asked a 1st-grade student if peace is possible and they said yes, without hesitation,” Tuttle said. “It made me remember how important it is to teach our students that we only fail, if we stop trying.

“I think we need to consider what factors get in the way of our daily peace and the peace in the lives of others. When we stop and reflect on peace and why it is illusive for so many, we can foster gratitude for our own lives while working to better the circumstances of others.”

Throughout the week, students will engage in sing-a-longs, reflective writing sessions, art projects, book readings, and acts of kindness. All activities are designed to get students thinking about how they can foster peace in their hearts, homes, communities and the world.

“Our community and the world at large has gone through so much hardship over the past year,” said Chris Broderick, Head of School. “There couldn’t be a better time to dive into the message of peace through a week of uplifting and meaningful activities that help us shape peace together as a school and as global citizens.”

The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by a unanimous United Nations Resolution. It provides a date for people all over the world to commit to creating a culture of peace.

“It is important we look beyond our own situations, be grateful for what we have, and consider the circumstances of others,” Tuttle said. “Peace feels like the essential underpinning of any development whether it is for a country or for an individual.”

Marymount is an independent school for children from age 4 through grade 8. For more information, email or call 805-569-1811 ext. 131.