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Mrs Helle Meri's Message of the School Peace for the Year 2000, City Theatre, September 8

Dear Estonian schoolfolk,

Today, we declare School Peace.

What does School Peace mean?

We all imagine school as a place where we study our school subjects: our mother tongue, mathematics, physics, history. This has been so ever since ancient times, and shall be so in the future, when computers have become our tools besides books, notebooks, and pens. The subjects, tools, and ways of learning have changed throughout the times, and they will change again. This is part of school, and we are not going to speak of this longer today.

Today we are going to talk about making friends at school. Friendships from schoolyears accompany us throughout our lives. Also decades after finishing school, schoolmates gather to reminisce their schooldays. This warm and universally uniting sense of belonging together is not officially included in your itinerary, and yet friendship has as great a value as thorough knowledge of any subject. It may even be the most valuable gift that school can give to the students.

School is a garden where friendship is grown and good companionship is bred. This is so self-evident, that talking about it already means admitting a concern. Let us then admit honestly that right now, the Estonian society is buried under a turbid wave of violence, impudent arrogance and calls to enjoy life. Let us protect our schools, and especially the younger pupils, for the infection of the egoistic consumer society. In the garden where friendship is nurtured, there is no place for weeds. Set an example - show that the stronger must help the weaker, and that honesty and diligence, inventiveness and modesty are virtues, and that good humour and courage help us to study at school and to attain our purposes in life. Today, the Republic of Estonia is cleaning itself from the dirt and violence of the past. Let us make our schools clean already today, so that they would be safe and loved by the students, and inspire their faith in the basic Estonian values and strengthen their will to remain true to these values.

This is the message of today's School Peace, and right now, on September 8, on the year 2000, I am sending it to all the schools of the Republic of Estonia!


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