Pages for Peace: In October of 2004, eight fifth grade students joined a Groton Dunstable Regional Middle School after-school enrichment program with the intention of making a book filled with student literary offerings that would be accepted into the Guinness World Book of Records. That initial project has considerably changed and an even more admirable goal resulted: to make the biggest book in the world about peace.
These optimistic students decided that their book should be 10 feet by 12 feet and would be a volume that was not only large in size, but larger in stature by making its contents meaningful. Teacher/adviser Betsy Sawyer attended a Jimmy Cliff concert and brought back a powerful message to her students from the activist reggae musician, "It's up to us to teach the children about peace" she described the singer as saying. Cliff also asked his audience, "What have you done to promote peace lately?"
The Bookmakers and Dreamers took that message to heart and began researching the topic of world peace. They sent letters to thousands of people around the world asking for their opinions about peace:
- What is world peace?
- Would there ever be world peace?
- Where would they like to see the world in 20 years?
Responses began pouring in and to date, the club has received more than 3,000 letters from politicians, veterans, students and teachers to Nobel Laureates such as Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama. Club members followed advice from former President Jimmy Carter, himself a Nobel Laureate, and a traveling ambassador for peace.
The original members of the Bookmakers and Dreamers Club have now graduated from high school and over 180 other students from Groton Dunstable Middle School have joined the club to continue peace studies along with making the Big Book. Besides researching prospects for peace by writing all of those letters and mapping the conflicts that continue today throughout the world, the students have also expanded their academic horizons as their journey has exposed them to up-to-the-minute technology required in order to make the world's largest book.
They have traveled to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell’s Francis College of Engineering to learn about some engineering concepts in order to choose the proper media on which to print their giant book. They watched as technicians demonstrated tests for tensile strength that ultimately determined that DuPont’s Tyvek® was the media of choice as it was very strong, wouldn’t tear and was light enough to be practical. People are more often familiar with other uses for Tyvek such as in the construction trade where it "wraps" buildings to offer air and water resistance, postal delivery envelopes and protective covers for boats and cars. teacher Betsy Sawyer to seek the help of a New England company, EFI VUTEk, a manufacturer of grand format ink jet printers in Meredith NH. Representatives from EFI VUTEk offered to provide some technical expertise for the project as well as donate the huge volume of ink required to print the 500-double sided page book. (If you think the toner for your computer’s ink jet printer is expensive, imagine how much ink is required to print such a huge book.)
In order to grasp a better understanding of how the giant printers work, club members took a field trip 90-miles north to EFI VUTEK’s Meredith NH headquarters to gain some first hand knowledge about the world of grand format printing. It was an awesome sight to see club members’ looks of amazement as they watched a copy of a photo being printed that had been taken of them that morning. The photo was as large as one of the pages of the book - 10 feet wide by 12 feet tall!
Location: Groton, MA, USA