On Friday, September 21, the Peoria Rotary Club called the community together at Centennial High School to celebrate the International Day of Peace. This was the club's third-annual event and it included remarks about Peace from Rotarian Chuck Fitzgerald, Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, Peoria Unified School District Governing Board members Kathy Knecht and Monica Ceja-Martinez and Peoria Unified School District Superintendent Linda Palles-Thompson and Communications Officer Danielle Airey. In addition, the Centennial High School Bel Canto Choir performed and a Centennial Interact Club member spoke about his club's "every act of service is an act of peace" model of serving. 
The highlight of the event was the presentation of the 2018 Peoria Rotary Club "Peacemaker of the Year" Award that recognizes the efforts of a community member toward building peace. This year, the award honored a teacher and coach from Raymond S. Kellis High School, Michael Wakeford. Wakeford leads the school's Unified Sports efforts and is recognized regionally for his support and championing of Special Olympics in Arizona. Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding. Unified Sports is designed to enable athletes to learn new sports, refine athletic skills, experience inclusion, socialize with peers, form new friendships and participate in their communities outside of traditional Special Olympics events. Now that's peacemaking!
Peoria Rotary's ongoing peace efforts include a District Grant that provides Peace Literacy training for educators in the Peoria Unified School District. This training is being conducted by Paul Chappell who recently spoke at the 2018 Pursuing Peace Conference. Additionally, seven schools with this school district are making plans to incorporate peer mediation, peace literacy, and peace spaces on their campuses — this project will be supported by a Rotary Global Grant and will likely kick off in 2019-2020. To learn how you can participate in this project, or other peace-related activities, contact the Peoria Rotary Club at info@thepeoriarotaryclub.org