Elmira students are spreading the message of peace through art.

Grade 5 and 6 students at John Mahood Public School have just finished up their submissions for the Woolwich Community Lions Club’s peace poster contest.

The students had two weeks to work on their posters in class, all based on a theme of ‘The Future of Peace.’

“It was a really neat project,” said art teacher Claire Campbell. “They really had some good ideas about peace and what it should look like around the world, around our school and what we can do here at John Mahood to show problem-solving and things like that.”

Over the past 30 years, Lions clubs around the world have sponsored international peace poster contests in their communities. The art contest encourages young people worldwide to express their visions of peace.

Each of the posters was a unique depiction of how the student pictured a peaceful future would best be represented, with a variety of symbols used, including hearts, doves, hands, robots and flags.

“It was really neat to see them come up with symbols on their own and to learn about different countries and their flags; different symbols – like the dove – different skin colours and just accepting others,” she said.

Ella Jones held her poster up in front of the class and explained why she envisioned her design – a collage of worldly flags, centered by a hand held globe and a banner showing the peace sign – represented an idealized future.

“I chose to do all of the flags to represent all of the different countries in the world and then I did this one banner to show that this all represents peace,” she said. “World peace means that everyone gets along, and they don’t fight and it doesn’t matter what you look like. Everyone should be treated the same.”

Grade 5 and 6 students from Elmira’s John Mahood PS completed their posters to be submitted for the Lions Club Peace Poster Contest. Back row:, Parker M, Kasten S, Katie E, Pacey C, Ella J, Lily H. Middle row: Troy D, Ethan B, Hayden G, Dylan B, Nora B, Adaia. Front row: Nyla B, Andrew A, Jordan W, Maddie M, Maddie H, Annalise W, Lindsay C. [Ali Wilson / The Observer]

There are approximately 600,000 children from 75 countries around the world who participate in the contest annually. The goal is to open up a conversation that goes beyond the classroom.

“It’s actually a worldwide competition, so what we did was we talked a lot about the future of peace, what it looks like in our school, what it looks like in our community,” said Campbell.

Entries will be judged Monday evening by the Woolwich Community Lions Club.

“The judges are looking for originality, artistic merit and the expression of the theme, The Future of Peace,” explained the teacher.

After judging, the students’ posters have the chance to move on to a provincial competition.