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School erects Peace Pole with messages for the future in time capsule

Messages for peace were buried in a remote part of Walter Reed Middle School in Studio City, Calif. so that people can dig it up in 2039 to see what students and faculty had to say about world peace.

Stephen Salva, assistant principal of Walter Reed Middle School, helps put up the Peace Pole at the school, with a time capsule of messages from students.
Stephen Salva, assistant principal of Walter Reed Middle School, helps put up the Peace Pole at the school, with a time capsule of messages from students.
Mike Szymanski, Studio City Community Activism Examiner
Stephen Salva puts up pole at Walter Reed Middle School
Mike Szymanski, Studio City Community Activism Examiner

Assistant Principal Stephen Salva said he became passionate about the project when they erected a similar pole at his previous school, and he got the idea from

"It is a way of promoting the idea of peace to the students, and they are doing this kind of thing around the world," Salva tells Examiner. "This is a great place to put the pole up because it is near our school garden and who knows what it will be 25 years from now."

Salva spent much of the morning running around Studio City to find white roses, which he wanted to plant around the pole, which has words of peace written in the languages that are most spoken at the school: English, Spanish, Armenian and Korean. He found the white roses and the Sixth Grade Glee Choir came out to sing "I Believe in Peace."

Principal Donna Tobin, who plans to retire this year, carried her message to the future on Wednesday (Feb. 26) in a sealed envelope. While walking over from the Administration Office to Schall Park across campus, she said, "I wrote about how exceptional the students, the parents and the staff were in this school, and that I still hoped they would be as great and exceptionally bright then as they are today."

She laughed at the idea of being trotted out a quarter of a century from now when the time capsule is unveiled once again.

Reed students from the Environmental Studies academy, Leadership and 6th grade choir attended the ceremony. The time capsule includes: student reflections of peace and the future, staff reflections on Reed, Native American symbols associated with problem solving and items representing Reed MS, and the Reed 75th Anniversary principal message.

Walter Reed turns 75 years this year and has been used in many movies and TV shows (Head of the Class, Growing Pains, 7th Heaven, Parks and Recreation, Malcolm in the Middle, The West Wing) and movies (Transformers, Joe Dirt, License to Drive, The Shaggy Dog, Accepted) and was the school for stars such as Rachel Bilson, Adam Carolla, John Ritter, Brian Austin Green, and jazz pianist David Silverman.

At the ceremony, Environmental Studies students Jin Seo Kim, Irene Baghdasaryan and Franco Guardado recited "May Peace Prevail On Earth" in Korean, Armenian and Spanish respectively (see video above), which are the most prevalent languages spoken the student body other than English today. It will be interesting to see how that changes in the future.

There were 450 folded swans of various sizes to decorate the peace pole as they have done at other peace poles around the world, Salva said.

Salva read some of the messages from the students to be included in the capsule, and a particularly heartfelt one by Environmental Studies teacher Sandra Desimone (who was too shy to read it herself). See the attached video for the message and see photos of the students and ceremony in the Photo Gallery.

"We are putting these messages in a non-environmentally sound coffee can so that they can dig it up 25 years from now," Salva said.

"I hope someone will remember that it is here to dig it up," he joked.

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