TURNER — Hundreds of Tripp Middle School students stood on the football field Friday, falling into formation.
One group stood together to form the letter "p." Another formed the letter "e," another the letters "a," "c" and "e."
They were trying to raise awareness that Monday is the United Nations International Day of Peace, a day of global cease fire and nonviolence.
The goal is to, at least for a day, have no war, stop violence and crime, replace meanness with kindness everywhere, including homes, communities and schools. Seizing the day, Tripp school students are turning into peace activists.
"We're trying to get everybody to accept each other on this day, Sept. 21," said eighth-grader Alli Woodard. "We watched a video in social studies about a man (Jeremy Gilley) who wanted to have a peace day."
Gilley is a British filmmaker and founder of "Peace One Day." Gilley encourages everyone, including students, to help spread the pro-peace message.
"We decided in our school to help make that a reality," Alli said.
Tripp students signed a pledge to be respectful and kind. They've spread peace stickers and signed a huge banner. To reinforce the mission, they went outside for a group photo. "Right now we're making the word peace," she said.
Out on the field, Principal Bob Kahler praised the students for getting in the right spots. "But we have to do a little adjustment so we can get you all in the picture," Kahler said. "What we need you to do, as you are in your letters, walk until you come to this first line."
The "e" students in front of him came forward, as did all the others.
"Well done," Kahler said.
Seventh-graders Cameron Luce and Olivia Mallar were part of the "a" group. Mallar explained why they were forming peace. For her, the day will mean "not being rude or mean."
"There's always a lot of things in the newspaper about criminals," Luce agreed. "This is one day to stop all that and be nice to everyone." Students will "try to help out people, stop making fun of each other, not be rude," he said.
Social studies teacher Judy Reed has shown Jeremy Gilley's film in her classes. "Last year in Afghanistan they stopped fighting for one day and allowed the World Health Organization to come in and immunize children." She's promoting the peace effort in Turner.
"My students know about International Peace Day, which means they're aware of suffering in other parts of the world," Reed said. "They can bring peace in their own community, one person at a time."
When everybody does something good, "it has a positive ripple, and we get a positive ripple that gets bigger and bigger."