Richmond Rotary dedicates Peace Pole at high school – Project promotes peace, diversity, acceptance – Richmond, Michigan-USA

May 9, 2023

A tangible reminder to promote peace, diversity and acceptance has become a permanent part of the landscape on the Richmond Community Schools campus, put in place through a partnership between the district and the Richmond Rotary Club.

On May 9, Richmond Community Schools and the Richmond Rotary Club dedicated a Peace Pole near Richmond High School, located on Division Road. “May Peace Prevail on Earth” is written in English and seven other languages on the pole, which was donated by the club.

Richmond Rotary Club President Bill Pierson said he brought the idea of the pole to the club last winter after seeing a similar project at Anchor Bay High School when he attended basketball games to watch his niece.

“I saw one that the Anchor Bay Rotary Club did at the Anchor Bay High School and thought it was a great idea,” Pierson said. “I reached out to Superintendent Brian Walmsley and he thought it would be a perfect match up with the new diversity club.”

The Richmond and Anchor Bay Rotary clubs are part of Rotary International District 6380. A few of the many other 6380 clubs that have installed Peace Poles include Livingston Sunrise Rotary, West Bloomfield Rotary, Rotary Club of Ann Arbor and Howell Rotary.

Pierson said the pole was designed to last.

“It’s PVC that I put a treated wood 4-by-4 in concrete in a 5-gallon bucket and we slid the PVC over the 4-by-4 and buried the whole bucket,” Pierson said.

The pole was purchased from ShopPeace on March 17. Languages selected included English, Spanish, Arabic, Burmese, Samoan, Indonesian, Italian and Mandarin Chinese.

“The only decisions for us were the languages to pick,” Pierson said. “Brian Walmsley, the superintendent of Richmond Schools, came up with the languages spoken in the schools this year.”

The Richmond Rotary Club recently worked in partnership with Richmond Community Schools to dedicate a Peace Pole on the district campus. (Courtesy of Rick Landuyt)

Pierson said he purchased the pole at a cost of $345 and will be reimbursed by the Richmond Rotary Club.

Pictured at the Peace Pole dedication in the back row, from left to right, are Kyle Simmons,
Rick Landuyt, Bill Pierson, Matthew Misch, Joseph Pacitto and Brian Walmsley.
Pictured in front, from left to right, are Denise Misson, Lydie Hawkins, Beth Fruin
and Adriana Retman (Courtesy of Rick Landuyt)

The pole is located off of the east parking lot at Richmond High School, so students will walk past it as they enter school. Pierson said to encourage the Peace Pole to become an outdoor centerpiece for gathering, the school planted trees around it and put in three benches.

“In my opinion, ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’ in eight different languages is simply a great message,” Pierson said. “This message will probably hold a different meaning to everyone, but to me it is simply a great message.”

Although originally planned as an Earth Day project, the club chose to reschedule the project’s completion for something closer to Arbor Day. In addition to the Peace Pole itself, the project also included that 10 trees will be planted on the African continent to recognize Richmond Rotary.

“We were looking for an Earth Day project,” Pierson said. “We missed Earth Day so we decided to shoot for Arbor Day since the purchase of the Peace Pole comes with the promise that 10 trees will be planted on the African continent. We wound up getting rained out on Arbor Day so we settled for the following Tuesday to do the dedication ceremony.”

Nicole Tuttle is a freelance reporter for The Voice.