Freeport Schools ‘Grow Peace’

Freeport Schools ‘Grow Peace’ photo

In celebration of International Day of Peace, the International Day of Nonviolence and the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the district hosted its eighth annual Peace Concert and Art Exhibit on Oct. 2 at the Performing Arts Center at the high school.

Hundreds of students, parents, board of education members, administrators, elected officials and community members attended the inspiring performance and viewed the spectacular artwork that were showcased by each of the district’s eight schools. The event, this year themed “Grow Peace,” was emceed by high school seniors Michael Desir and Kira Brizill, both of whom provided inspiring messages about harmony and peaceful coexistence as transitions from one performance to the next.

Following his speech about the importance of cultivating peace, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham presented the board of education and elected officials with framed prints comprised of student artwork titled, “We Are Peace.” This beautiful poster was displayed electronically to the audience.

“We are living in interesting times and it’s up to us to promote acceptance and harmony,” Dr. Kuncham said. “We must continue to embrace and value our diversity and work toward unity. Gandhi reminded us that ‘gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.’ Each of us can be an ambassador for peace and nonviolence. It is easy to speak of peace, but it is our actions that truly build the culture of peace that is needed in the world today.”

Following the presentation of the colors by members of the high school’s Navy JROTC and a rendition of the national anthem by Desir, Columbus Avenue kindergartners graced the stage to begin the slate of performances. They sang and danced to “Let There Be Peace On Earth” under the direction of Christina Prisco-Buxbaum; the New Visions Glee Club performed “Harvest for the World” under the leadership of Crystal Leotaud; Archer Street fourth-grade dual language classes sang “Celebrate the World” under the direction of Jennifer Skelly; the Dodd Select Chorale performed “Let There Be Peace” under the leadership of Dr. Sherill Spruill; Bayview fourth-grade dual language classes sang “The World is Ours” under the direction of Jennifer Leal; Giblyn fourth-grade chorus students performed “Just Be Happy” under the leadership of Shannon Abramovitz; Caroline G. Atkinson fifth-grade chorus students sang “One Day,” which featured a solo by Ashley Retzlaff, under the direction of Stephanie Arnell; high school student ensemble “Brass Bois” performed “Heartland” and “Imagine” under the leadership of student conductor Myles Carter; and all schools’ student performers came together for a remarkable rendition of “The Candle Song,” which was arranged by high school student Elijah Zelaya and featured high school student Mayralee Martinez as vocalist.

The Peace Concert and Art Exhibit was a symphonious and beautiful forum to spread the messages of peace and nonviolence from the district throughout the world.