Mark Clairmont |

GRAVENHURST — Give peace a chance.

That’s what optimistic art students at GHS are painting.

The Rotary Club has embarked on yet another installation at Gull Lake Rotary Park and the Grade 9 class — brushed up on their paint skills — and is all over it.

When Rotarian Kay Godden asked the high school for help with the club’s ‘Peace Pole’ project they got teacher Aimee Bulloch to form a team to paint five more distinct poles to complement the focal white pole that will be erected this spring at Rotary’s Rock Garden.

She has experience with Rotary organizing the Empty Bowls food bank fundraiser.

“Normally I wouldn’t assign a project like this to young students, but they’re such a great group it was easy for them to do.”

The GHS art class finished up five peace poles as complementary art pieces for the Rotary Club’s ‘Peace Pole’ project at Gull Lake Rotary Park later this spring as part of the club’s 85th anniversary celebration.

Godden, chair of Rotary’s World Services avenue of service, bought the eight-foot centre piece that has several languages with the words ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’ inscribed on it, including in English, French, Chinese and in Inuit and Indigenous languages.

There is also acknowledgement on it with a Braille plaque and a rainbow flag.

She says it’s part of Rotary’s ongoing drive to bring peace to the world.

The extra poles and paint were donated by Rotarians.

The game students took up the exciting challenge by coming up with their own various interpretations on the theme and what it means to them and their future.

Teacher Aimee Bulloch gives the peace sign as students hold the Rotary pole around which their art will go.

After Bulloch got them to research the topic the 14-year-olds set out on paper — yes paper and not computers — to surround the poles on all four sides with different designs that still conveyed the same message of hope.

“Peace should be on everyone’s mind, said Sarah Poirier.

“Everyone should have a little peace in their life,” added pole mate Taylor Ferguson.

The war in Ukraine was on Karen Lim’s mind, when she put brush to pole the past two weeks.

“I don’t think people should suffer the same consequences that people brought upon them.”

One pole has the signature phrase written in Ukrainian.

Poles included lots of peace and love signs, big white doves, native symbols, water, flowers, skies — and American sign language.

The poles — laminated to protect them — will be erected once the ground thaws and an appropriate installation can be arranged at the town park, including participation by the school band and other appropriate ceremonies.

The Rotary Club has adopted the park in and has contributed numerous additions to it like the playground equipment, rock garden, the picnic shelter gazebo, the pathway from it to the waterfront and a Frisbee golf course.

Their 85th anniversary project expected to open this summer is the Rock the Barge amphitheatre seating on the hill in front of the stage.

Karen Lim and Sarah Poirier shows the four-sided paper drawing design they started with before students added their personal touches.
It took a lot of precise, detailed work to cover the polls with hundreds of imaginative images representing peace to the the students.
Bottom to top students didn’t miss a spot or an opportunity to share their meaning of peace and love on Earth.
It takes a village paint a pole with each creative artists on the team contributing great ideas and touches.
Art teacher Aimee Bulloch helps students while participating hands-on herself in the art classroom.
It was all hands and brushes on deck for this masterpiece in the making Friday afternoon.
From all angles these young artists had their pole covered top to bottom and can now rest on their colourful laurels.
Reflecting the current state of the world a message in Ukrainian was part of this pole along with Indigenous, blind and LGBQTI acknowledgements.
Who needs a paint palette to test colours when you have a smock, say Luke Smith and Maddison Davidson.
Signed and soon to be sealed and delivered is this yellow-backed pole at the end of completion.
Laila Raney, left, and Grace Millar offer Kay Godden a chance to add a little colour to her Rotary cap.
Grace Salata and Aurora Boyd stand on tippy toes to measure the height of their colourful eight-foot creation.
When said and done it was enough to put a smile on everyone’s face. Wait till they’re installed to see more smiles.
It took a lot of donated paint, poles and effort, but Rotary’s Peace Pole project proved worthwhile to students and Rotarians.


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Twitter: @muskokatoday, Facebook: mclairmont1

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