History teaches important lessons during Peace Week

By Sydney Brandolino, Adriana Tobin, Ivy Doak and Caelin Thompson

When one thinks of peace, half-folded paper cranes aren’t usually what comes to mind. But, for a group of WGHS students, that was certainly what was on their minds.

A long-kept tradition of paper crane folding kicked off 2020’s Peace Week, meaning crumpled paper for some origami-newbies and paper cranes for those more versed in the paper-folding world. Peace Week is an annual event that coincides with the commemoration of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Ngasaki during World War Two. Westlake Girls and Rosmini College collaborate each year to remember the victims of war and advocate for peace.

During class we learnt about Sadako Sasaki, a little Japanese girl who was a victim of the Hiroshima atomic bombing, she was only 2 years old when the bomb hit. 10 years after being exposed to radiation caused by the atomic bomb, she developed leukemia. She was told about a Japanese legend that says anyone who makes 1,000 origami cranes will see their wish come true, Sadako spent her last days folding paper cranes on her hospital bed in the hope she would recover. Sadly she passed away when she was 12 years old. Her classmates folded the rest of the paper cranes for her in acknowledgement for her and the many people who died from the bombing.

Takeaki and Takako Kuroda, Hiroshima bomb survivors, came in and talked to us about the atomic bombs and helped us see through their eyes the events that occured. In their presentation they spoke about how much damage the bomb caused to surrounding areas, and how even 1km could spell the difference between life and death. As saddening as it was to hear the long-term damage caused by the bomb, it was heartening to meet these survivors and see how despite all of these tragic events they were able to continue on and are now using their personal experience to advocate for peace.

This incredible week of activities was then furthered by a thorough, challenging discussion led by Tamkeen Saeid from the Peace Foundation and covered a few select topics. These included the importance of one’s own culture, and acceptance and understanding of diversity and the cultures of others around us.

We concluded Peace Week by doing rock painting. Armed with a few rocks and pens students used their creative skills to paint positive messages and images. Whether it be the rainbow peace signs on one rock or the love hearts on another, the threads of peace and love connected every student there. We would like to thank everyone who supported Peace Week.

Pictured are:

Tamkeen Saeid from the Peace Foundation with WGHS students
Stella Lang and Leah Whitehead with their paper cranes
Takeaki and Takako Kuroda with WGHS and Rosmini College students
Rosmini College and WGHS students – rock painting to spread a message of peace.

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