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Costa Mesa campus receives, and gives, a Peace Pole

A Costa Mesa campus is now home to one of tens of thousands of Peace Poles planted in more than 160 countries.

Students of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District’s Seamless Transition Enrichment Program, or STEP, gathered at their campus’ garden Friday to participate in a Peace Pole ceremony and commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

STEP teacher Mary Barrett arranged for the campus to receive a pole to plant in her students’ garden and another to give to Estancia High School.

“The whole idea is to plant a pole, give another to a different school, then they would raise funds to buy another pole and give it to another school,” Barrett said. “It’s our hope that it’ll go throughout the district.”

Barrett first heard of the Peace Pole Project, which began in 1955 in Japan, while teaching at a charter school in Nevada, where a pole was planted more than 10 years ago.

Communities in countries such as Ghana, Ukraine and Italy have poles, according to the project’s website.

At Friday’s ceremony, STEP students read speeches sharing their thoughts on what peace means to them and recognizing the lives lost on 9/11.

Their Peace Pole stands about 5 feet tall, with “May peace prevail on Earth” printed on one of the sides.

Estancia Assistant Principal Jennifer Chamberlin attended the ceremony to receive the gift pole.

“We pledge to pass it forward to another school sometime this year,” Chamberlin said.

Anyone interested in buying a Peace Pole can visit peacepoleproject.org.


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