MONTPELIER — On December 23, Montpelier High School faculty, staff and present student body gathered outside on the left side of the baseball field. Together, they formed a large human peace symbol, and were photographed by an overhead drone.
The Peace Sign Movement was started by the Hilltoppers, of St. Johnsbury Academy, when they brought their student body and faculty outside on December 7. They gathered together on the inside of their track, and formed Vermont’s first school peace sign. Their hope was to get other schools in the state to join them as they showed support for victims of violence around the world.
The initiative is meant to show that as a school, and a community, we show support and solidarity with the victims of violence around the globe, of all races, nationalities, genders and so on. This movement is a response to the recent Paris attacks, suicide bombings in Beirut and Baghdad and mass shootings in the United States, like the recent shootings in San Bernardino, California, and other violent situations in the world. The message behind the symbol of peace is to show solidarity with the victims of world violence, and that we are here to advocate peace, with no exceptions.
When Hilltopper Haley Edmonson reached out through her connections with the alumni of the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Seminar of Vermont, she was hoping to get other students to bring the movement to their respective high schools. Levi Beavin, a local Solon at Montpelier High School, saw her call for action, and got approval from the Montpelier High School Principal Advisory Team to follow through. Beavin teamed up with Principal Michael McRaith, Science teacher Sam Bromley, Math teacher Whitney Machnik, Athletic Director Matt Link and Administrative Assistant Val Belanger.
The dimensions were determined by Machnik’s pre-calculus class, and the symbol was drawn out by Matt Link and the Department of Recreation. As the school formed the peace sign, Bromley used a drone to take a picture every half-second in flight to capture the birds-eye view, and created a time-lapse video using a tripod on the roof. The drone images can be found on the Montpelier Public Schools Facebook page.