Peace, Sixth Graders, Essays, And Art Come Together In Lakewood Park

Ribbon cutting by Nickie Antonio, State Representative of Ohio House District 13; Miss Jane Kalinowski, the winner of  6th grade peace essay contest sponsored by Keep Lakewood Beautiful; David and Renata Jakupca members of ICEA, Universal Peace Ambassadors, and David is the the designer and sculptor of the WCPM. Photo by Billy Delfs.

The dedication of the World’s Children Peace Monument Sculpture in Lakewood Park occurred on Sept. 21, 2013, also United Nations International Day of Peace. With the kind recommendation of Senator Skindell, Lakewood was suggested to receive the World’s Children Peace Monument. We are honored to have been chosen to receive this sculpture. The dedication ceremony sponsored by Keep Lakewood Beautiful was held adjacent to the sculpture and began outside as the sun finally peeked through the clouds with music performed by Marty Higgins. The World’s Children Peace Monument (WCPM) was wrapped like a large gift with a yellow bow in the sunshine. Indeed, it is a gift to the City of Lakewood from the International Center for Environmental Arts (ICEA) and the children of Berea, Ohio who have donated the Peace Stone for the World’s Children Peace Monument to promote a sustainable global Culture of Peace and Goodwill. The International Center for Environmental Arts is dedicated to assisting in the understanding of the relationship between humans and their environment through the arts to promote a sustainable Culture of Peace.

The official ribbon cutting ceremony was performed by Nickie Antonio, State Representative of Ohio House District 13; Miss Jane Kalinowski, winner of the city wide 6th grade peace essay contest sponsored by Keep Lakewood Beautiful; David Jakupca, member of ICEA, a Universal Peace Ambassador, and the designer and sculptor of the WCPM, and Renate Jakupca member of ICEA and a Universal Peace Ambassador. The reveal of the sculpture was framed picturesquely by the surrounding Keep Lakewood Beautiful Adopt-A-Spot Garden masterfully maintained by The Lakewood Kiwanis Club’s John Mumma (past president, 2010). Kind and inspiring words from State Representative Nickie Antonio; the Lakewood Kiwanis Club: De De Macnamee Gold, President, John Mumma; Renata Jakupca, and City Councilmember Tom Bullock also graced the event.

Bringing the WPCM to Lakewood fit well with the Keep Lakewood Beautiful mission which is to promote civic involvement, to enhance the beauty of Lakewood through green space activity, litter prevention, recycling efforts, and to encourage individual education and investment in the overall environment of the City. Keep Lakewood Beautiful brings annually to the City of Lakewood the fall and spring humus sale, earth day, beautiful home awards, and over 50 Adopt-a Spot gardens. 

In honor of the dedication of the World’s Children Peace Monument Sculpture, Keep Lakewood Beautiful sponsored a city wide 6th grade essay contest entitled “What Peace Means to me…” A big part of the event was the awarding of the winners of this city wide 6th grade essay contest. All 6th grade students in the City of Lakewood were invited to participate. With the generous support of middle school principals of both public and private schools, 6th grade teachers and the students, we received 152 official entries in the essay contest!  Keep Lakewood Beautiful was thrilled with this wonderful response.

All judging was done independently and blindly so no student names or schools were visible or known to a judge. We had three teachers kindly volunteer their time. They each read all 152 essays and have picked the top 25 essays which received awards. Keep Lakewood Beautiful would like to acknowledge them for this mammoth task they graciously undertook: Sue Seeds- a Language Arts teacher at Lakewood Catholic Academy, Katherine Ingersoll-Gifted and Talented Coordinator Lakewood City Schools, and Becky Blau-a Language Arts teacher at St. Mary of the Falls School in Olmsted Falls.

The 1st place essay winner is Jane Kalinowski of Lakewood Catholic Academy -Jane’s award winning word work of art follows:

“What is peace? Peace to me is a helping hand. A helping had that leads to another helping hand, till there are millions of hands reaching out to pick you up of[f] the ground. Peace can make a million, but everything starts with I.

Peace to me is tranquility and harmony. Living things should not grow apart, but grow together. Peace to some is “rainbows and flowers.” But really all it is, is just People Working Together! Did Neil Armstrong make it to the moon himself? No! We had help from hundreds of scientists! Did Martin Luther King have the courage to have a dream by himself? No! He had millions behind him! All I am trying to say is everyone needs help, and that people should come and stay together.

To sum things up peace is inside all. We just need figure out how to let it out. That in a few words is what peace means to me.”

An additional part of the dedication of the statue was the addition of the essay contest winner’s handprint to the lower right corner of the statue. Everyone present was able to watch David Jakupca’s artistry in action as the sculptor prepared the Peace Monument for Jane’s handprint. The significance of the hand comes from the following quote: “This hand belongs to Jane Kalinowski and one day her hand will touch millions.” Congratulations Jane!

The 2nd place essay winner is Gwen Wojtkun of Lakewood Catholic Academy. A quote from her winning essay follows: ”If you have had something that makes you feel at peace, you know what happiness feels like. If you don’t, close your eyes and think of the best day in your life and you will feel happiness.”

The 3rd place winner is Brier Bracken of Garfield Middle School. Here is a short selection from her winning essay: “Peace is something embedded in our souls, and we can all feel it, even under everything else, like love and hatred. We are all unique and independent, but we still need each other to succeed. That’s why we should respect ourselves and others, to join together to create our perfect world. Bring peace, because peace is pure.”

With so many wonderful essays it was hard to choose the winners. While all bestowed many amazing pearls of wisdom, excerpts are taken from each of the rest of the winners for all to get a glimpse of ‘What Peace Means to me" by the City of Lakewood’s 6th grade students.

There were seven 1st Tier Honorable Mentions: (1) Evan Bell- “Peace means being content with myself.” (2) Emma Carson- “Is there a place that makes me feel at peace? I choose Lakewood, all of it.” (3) Payton Rossen- “Peace means a perfect world where no one is left out.” (4) Gabrielle Heath- “Peace cannot be kept, it comes and goes. Peace is something you work for, not something you just get overnight.” (5) Kitty Crino- “Equation for Peace: Respect the earth + Respect fellow humans = Happiness = Peace” (6) Autumn Saddler– “Peace is never forced. Peace is ONLY to be chosen.” (7) Alice King- “Everyone deserves peace.”

Fifteen 2nd tier Honorable Mentions were awarded: (1) Gabe Beaver- “Peacemaking means running into the middle of it and making a difference by helping someone.” (2) Chloe Becker- “I think peace is action that we should all do everyday.” (3) Tiffany Reed- “[Peace] means to end all fighting between race and religion.” (4) Kenyon Jefferson– “Peace is important because it is freedom.” (5) Nolan Hess- “Soldiers fight for the peace I have in my own homeland, and we should fight for peace in ourselves.” (6) Marina Klee- “Practicing peace at home helps us to be confident peace ambassadors in the world.” (7) Jacob Laux- “One might find peace knowing that they are being accepted for who they are.” (8) Katie Pietrangelo- “I think when you found something you love, you found your peace!” (9) Ashlee Presock- “Peace means smiles to me.” (10) Grace Quasebarth- “Peace has lots of different ways of finding us. Peace should always be in our hearts.” (11)  Kennedy Ball- “Peace is soft and quiet, to dance, to live, to love, and not to hate.” (12) Lauren Heba- “What peace means to me is a phoenix of peace rising from the ashes of war.” (13) Renee Jones- “Everyday you need to decide if you want to be a peaceful person.” (14) Haley Schultz- ”Everyone could be able to achieve anything that they want, no one would be limited, and everyone would be free.” (15) Tulley Worron- “I think everyone deserves a chance at peace. Our generation has an obligation to carry on the legacy of peace.”

Congratulations to all of our winners! Also, congratulations to every student who wrote an essay about the meaning of peace. They are all winners! Taking a moment to think about what peace really is to each of us is an invaluable gift which we can always cherish and strive for. The complete collection of 152 essays has been put together and will be on display. Please contact Keep Lakewood Beautiful at for details.

Keep Lakewood Beautiful would like to acknowledge the many Lakewood businesses, organizations, and individuals who have so generously donated to make this event possible and give our winners wonderful prizes.

Keep Lakewood Beautiful especially acknowledges ICEA, our dignitaries, speakers, and guests, and especially thanks our students for their wonderful and inspirational essays. These essays are like seeds of peace that each student has planted around the The World’s Children Peace Monument. With nourishment, each of them will grow and blossom into promoting peace in each of us and beyond, what a wonderful way to Keep Lakewood Beautiful! Peace!

Marianne Quasebarth Usiak is a KLB Board Member and Chairperson of Peace Monument Dedication Ceremony. Photos are by KLB Board member Billy Delfs and Gary Quasebarth.

Marianne Quasebarth Usiak

Lakewood Citizen and Volunteer Board member of Keep Lakewood Beautiful

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Volume 9, Issue 20, Posted 8:12 PM, 10.03.2013