A couple of years ago, Michael Pontoriero wanted to join a rally. But it took place during school hours.
Yet the thought of people gathering for a common purpose — and to use their voices to advocate for ideas that matter to them — at Staples High School intrigued him.
Michael remembered seeing “peace poles” at Town Hall, and on college tours. They say “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” in a variety of languages. The first was in Japan, in 1955.
He did some research, and learned there are 200,000 around the world — including Hiroshima, the Pyramids, and the Pentagon.
“Who doesn’t want peace?” he wondered. He vowed to bring one to Staples.
The project took a year to complete. He worked with Dennis Wong of Westport’s Sunrise Rotary Club, and Bill Haas of the United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut.
With principal Stafford Thomas’ okay, the pole was planted in Staples’ main courtyard.
“The goal is to promote peace,” Michael — about to complete his junior year — says. “It’s where all students, faculty and staff can rally together.”
The peace pole will be officially dedicated tomorrow (Wednesday, June 1, 9 a.m.).
Michael is already thinking ahead. Wouldn’t it be great, he asks, to have peace poles at every Westport school?
And at Westport’s favorite rallying spot: the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.
That would complete an interesting circle. It’s where Michael could not go to raise his voice a couple of years ago.
Because he had school.
I’ve had my Peace Pole for about four years. There doesn’t appear to be a way to post a pic. I’ll take some credit for encouraging the town to get one at Town Hall. Here’s a link to a Facebook post. https://www.facebook.com/714660932/posts/10155691842820933/?d=n
There is one at Saugatuck elementary, a wonderful, thoughtful gift from the school in memory of my son, Perrin Delorey. Not sure if any other schools in westport currently have them.
Michael, congratulations and how wonderful a high school student such as yourself recognizes the need for this blessing!!! What a wonderful idea you came up with and then made happen!!!Thank you so much. Yes, I support wholeheartedly getting them installed at every Westport school!!! Hope to see that happen in an 06880 update down the line. Maybe you can organize a meditation circle to sit quietly and take a pause and a few breaths to bring a little bit of peace for the mind and body during the school day! Might be helpful for all 💜All the best. Thanks again.