Flags symbolize gifted students' hopes for future

Flags symbolize gifted students' hopes for future
Posted on 02/12/2016
WINGS students flags in the Desert Willow Elementary courtyard

Flags symbolize gifted students’ hopes for future

By MELISSA ST. AUDE Staff Writer | Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2016 9:54 am

CASA GRANDE — Forty-two handmade flags hanging in the Desert Willow Elementary School courtyard garden represent the hopes and dreams of the school district’s gifted students.

“In my dreams I believe the world will have peace and that evil will have peace too,” third-grader Ava Groh wrote on her flag, which is illustrated with a blue ocean and swaths of green swirled together along with a heart and the word “brave.”

The flags were hung in the courtyard Monday during a special ceremony attended by parents and community members.

Making the flags was part of a months-long literary project in which third-, fourth- and fifth-graders in the district’s gifted program, WINGS, read historical works by Martin Luther King Jr., poet Langston Hughes and others.

After reading the works, the students were asked to contemplate what the lives of the authors were like and what experiences might have led them to write what have become known as literary masterpieces.

The students were then asked to write their own thoughts and dreams for the future.  

“It was neat to see their hopes for the future,” said Melissa Pieper, Desert Willow principal.  “Not only did they write about what they hope for themselves but what they hope for their families, the country and world.”

Among the various ideals the students hoped for were freedom for everyone; kind and caring families; equality for all; no pollution; and cleaning up environmental damage, Pieper said.

Based on the model of a Tibetan prayer flag, the thoughts were then transferred to fabric and illustrated with a symbol.

Fifth-grader Crystal Melton wrote, “Like a butterfly I will spread my wings and fly. I may be dreaming but nothing will tear me from my future life.”

She illustrated her flag with various symbols connected to one another by a green vine.

Pieper said students put a lot of thought into their flags and focused on the future of humankind and the type of world in which they would like to live.

“They were really, really great,” she said.

In keeping with the tradition of a Tibetan prayer flag, the dreams were hung in the courtyard garden, where they will remain until the end of the year.

“The idea is that as the wind and elements get to them, they become tattered and pieces are scattered into the wind,” Pieper said. “So the wind carries the dreams out into the world.”

Desert Willow hosts the gifted program for the Casa Grande Elementary School District, WINGS. Students from across the district attend the school for the WINGS program.

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