GROTON -- Nine Groton-Dunstable High School students, along with four Groton-Dunstable college-age students, who are members of the Bookmakers and Dreamers Club, are invited guests who will attend a special 2013 United Nations student commemoration of the "International Day of Peace" in New York City on Sept. 18.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls on combatants around the world to lay down their arms and to give peace a real chance each year on Sept. 21, the official "International Day of Peace."
For the past several years, many Groton-Dunstable middle-school and high-school students have participated in the annual United Nations event. But this year, about 400 high-school and college students from around the country will have an opportunity to interact with U.N. Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors -- a distinguished group of individuals selected from the fields of art, literature, music, and sports. They include Elie Wiesel, George Clooney, Jane Goodall, Michael Douglas and Stevie Wonder.
Also, students from the countries of Sudan, Afghanistan and Liberia will be communicating with students at the U.N. during the morning through Skype.
The theme this year is "Education for Peace," focusing on the importance of education for achieving a Culture of Peace.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon believes, "It is not enough to teach children how to read, write and count. Education has to cultivate mutual respect for others and the world in which we live, and help people forge more just, inclusive and peaceful societies."
Guest students have been asked to share peace projects in which they've been involved, such as the "Groton Dunstable Big Book: Pages for Peace" project. The 10-foot-by-12-foot book is home to a collection of letters, artwork and poems from authors around the world. It will be an event highlight, presented through both a featured video and a centrally displayed sample page from the Big Book, set up for the public to view.
Groton-Dunstable Regional High School students organized multiple bake sales to help raise money for transportation, which will be provided by Buckingham Bus in Groton. Escorted by Groton-Dunstable Middle School teachers Betsy Sawyer (club adviser for the Bookmakers and Dreamers) and Maria Viera, along with a half-dozen parents, this year's students will also visit the FealGood Foundation and the 9/11 First Responder Memorial Park on Long Island.
The four college students, traveling from Massachusetts, New York and Vermont, will meet their peers Tuesday evening, where, upon arrival, John Feal of the FealGood Foundation will treat the Bookmakers and Dreamers to dinner.
Donations for the excursion are welcome. Checks should be made payable to Groton-Dunstable Regional High School and can be mailed to P.O. Box 16, Groton, MA 01450.