Peace becomes a reality - thanks to Holbrook students
By Jeanne M. Rideout
Posted Sep 20, 2017
Holbrook and the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts will commemorate the first Peace Day Thursday, Sept. 21, thanks to a nearly two-year-long endeavor by Holbrook Civics Club students, under the direction of Civics teacher Mary Clougher.
“It was through the efforts of the Holbrook Middle High School Civics Club that this day has been officially observed throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Holbrook Selectman Chairman Daniel Lee read from the citation presented to Clougher and the Civics Club at the selectmen’s meeting Sept. 13.
“The theme of this day is respect, safety and dignity for all,” the selectmen’s proclamation read. “We encourage the Civics Club to continue its commitment to these values and spread this mission throughout our new school and our community every day of the year.”
A group of Holbrook Middle High schoolers at the meeting represented the 50-member club.
“We will celebrate our first Peace Day in Holbrook and the state thanks to you,” Lee told the students.
Sept. 21 is also Holbrook’s 30th Student Government Day. Students in grades six through eight will be participating, Clougher told selectmen.
“We have many exciting guests confirmed for this event,” Clougher said. “The governor is sending another proclamation in honor of the first official Peace Day.”
Lee affirmed selectmen also will present a proclamation at the commemoration.
Clougher told selectmen how the undertaking began when a presentation by the Martin Richard Foundation inspired the Civics Club, then sixth-grade students at South Elementary School, to learn more about the Peace One Day movement and the 1981 United Nations Resolution to celebrate an International Day of Peace.
After careful research, the students decided to launch a drive to have Sept. 21 proclaimed Peace Day in Holbrook.
“(Town Manager) Tim Gordon was very enthusiastic,” Clougher said.
In January 2016, the Sixth Grade Civics Club made a presentation to selectmen and, in February, the board unanimously approved a resolution to celebrate Peace Day annually in Holbrook on Sept. 21.
Buoyed up by their success, the students asked, “Why don’t we try to have Sept. 21 Peace Day in Massachusetts?”
“State Sen. John Keenan really supported them,” Clougher said.
The Civics Club also earned the wholehearted support of Holbrook’s legislative team State Reps. Ron Mariano and Mark Cusack.
After the students put in months of hard work filing a bill and presenting testimony on the Hill, S.2181 proclaiming an annual Peace Day in Massachusetts was approved, and then signed into law as Chapter 274 of the Acts of 2016 by Gov. Charlie Baker.
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