Cherry Creek Completes Third Annual Peace Walk

For the third year in a row, students at Cherry Creek Elementary School (CCE) participated in a Peace Walk to honor and celebrate Martin Luther King, Junior.  Each year the walk and events surrounding it focus on a theme. This year’s theme is Belonging.  

Having a Dream

The theme of Belonging was established for this year to help students recognize and accept differences in others and look to include everyone.  This idea works well with the mission of Brody’s Be Cafe, which opened last fall in Ada.  A coffee cart also debuted at Lowell Middle School promoting the philosophy of the cafe.  “Our MLK committee felt the message of inclusion and belonging [of Brody’s Be Cafe] linked perfectly with our mission to help all students feel they belong at CCE.” says committee chairperson and fourth grade teacher Lisa Camfferman.  She feels that the message of Belonging fits nicely with King’s dream of making the world a better place.  

Students helped others feel they belong in part by helping the cafe.  Gift cards for the cafe were available for order the week leading up to the Peace Walk.  Over 260 cards of $5 increments were purchased and will be sent home with students. CCE’s second grade classes make and sell cookies once a month to help raise funds for various activities.  More than 450 cookies were sold on Monday.  Proceeds from sales in January will be donated to the cafe.  

Jenny Cole spoke during a morning assembly, sharing her story of wanting everyone to have a feeling of belonging.  Cole’s son, Brody, and some staff from the cafe were also at the assembly. “I wanted everyone to feel included.” Cole told students of one of the reasons she came up with the idea for Brody’s Be Cafe.  “We’re all our own kind of normal.” She also told students that while Martin Luther King, Jr. worked on a larger scale that they could “do it small right here at Cherry Creek”.  

Peace Walk

Leading up to Monday’s Peace Walk, each classroom created a poster which looks like a puzzle piece.  When all of the pieces are put together it signifies that all students belong at CCE. Jaclyn Stouten, who is an intervention coordinator and member of the MLK committee, came up with the overall concept.  

The hope of those on the committee is that students will take away three things from their experience learning about belonging and participating in the walk.  Participating in an actual walk from CCE to Lowell Middle School and back is symbolic King’s non-violent methods of promoting equality.  

Students should also have a better appreciation of differences in those around them.  Whether peers, teachers, staff, or other kids and adults they will encounter, everyone should be celebrated in spite of and because of differences.  One lesson learned is that everyone should have a voice to express thoughts and feelings.  

Finally, students learned how King’s powerful words used to promote belonging and that his message continues today.  Each student has the ability to continue this message no matter how big or small an effort is taken.  

Students walked from CCE to Lowell Middle School.  Middle school students were outside to greet them and cheer them on.  The Brody’s Be Cafe cart was also outside so any parents who walked with a class could get a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

Promoting Diversity

Three years ago Camfferman approached CCE principal Shelli Otten about creating a walk and was greeted with support.  A handful of teachers helped out the first year, however, since then an official MLK Committee has been established. Alongside Camfferman, Jill Kirkpatrick, Peter Lang, Eric Bredin, Stouten, Christy Spaulding, and Otten make up the committee which planned this year’s event.  Camfferman is thankful for the teachers who have volunteered to be on the planning committee.  

A few students from two classrooms answered questions for us.  Their responses below show what they’ve learned about making sure everyone belongs and why the annual Peace Walk is important.  

Responses from students in Jill Kirkpatrick’s 2nd grade class

Rachel Saylor

Why do you think it’s important to participate in the annual Peace Walk?
To remind us to be peaceful and keep him in our memories.

What word did you put on your sign, why?
Everyone’s the same; our skin color doesn’t matter

Tate Martin

Why do you think it’s important to participate in the annual Peace Walk?
So we can remember him.

What word did you put on your sign, why?
Be a kind a friend; I want everyone to be nice.

Logan McClure

Why do you think it’s important to participate in the annual Peace Walk?
It’s celebrating and reminding people that the world should always be in peace.

What word did you put on your sign, why?
Be kind to others; everyone needs to get along

Raya Longway

Why do you think it’s important to participate in the annual Peace Walk?
To help us remember him.

What word did you put on your sign, why?
Help others; that’s what he wanted us to do

Responses from students in Lisa Camfferman’s 4th grade class

Dominic Sweaney:
“I chose the word Persistent because you shouldn’t give up on things that are hard.”
“We walk to show we care about Brody’s Be and the people that work there.”

J’Lynn Bruinekool:
“I chose the word Fair because you should let everyone play together.”
“We walk to show we care and are fair.”

Xander Thomas:
“I picked Understanding. Don’t forget people are different from you and you should be understanding.”
“We walk to show we care about others.”

More photos from the event can be seen on the CCE Facebook page or clicking the Facebook icon below.

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