French School Reciprocates Students’ Gift of Friendship and Peace

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Last year, as a show of support after the Paris bombings, student government members at John F. Kennedy Intermediate created a French flag poster under the guidance of JFK art teachers Joanne Bibow-Buck and Laurie Schwartz and student government advisers Patty Katz and Deborah Smith. Signed by all JFK students, the poster was sent to the students of the Ecole d'Etroussat school in France, accompanied by a letter. In grateful response, the 53 students in the small French school recently sent a letter back to JFK, accompanied by a Picasso “Peace Dove” poster – formed with photos of students holding different world flags – as a symbol of friendship.

The message from the French students, translated into English, included this statement: “We thank you profoundly for your magnificent show of solidarity; it touched us deeply. It is true that we live in a world that is sometimes brutal and it is up to us to build a more beautiful world. The dove by Picasso also symbolizes liberty. We wish that all children, wherever they are born, can be free to go to school, to live according to their religion in peace, to gain access to culture, to go to concerts, to sing, to dance...”

“We share the heartfelt sentiment communicated by the students of the Etroussat school,” said Danielle Sheridan, a Deer Park district administrator. “All of our the teachers, staff and students were deeply touched by the students’ words and plan to continue the correspondence with them.”