Congratulations to the 2017 Peace Leader Award winners:

Muncie Central High School Muncie, Indiana

Muncie Central High School – Muncie, Indiana

Muncie Central is a typical American high school, nestled in the small city of Muncie, Indiana, it serves over 1,400 students from a variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Hanna Waechter has been teaching Latin at Muncie Central for 23 years. Every spring since 2010, she introduces her students to Pennies for Peace.

“I read the book Three Cups of Tea and was inspired by the story,” said Hanna. “The idea is simple but impactful, and I believe that every girl deserves an education,” she said. “I truly believe that education is the path to peace; not just in helping to educate children half way around the world, but also in educating our own students about different cultures and ways of life.” Read more…

A. Vito Elementary School

A. Vito Martinez Middle School, Romeoville, Illinois

Vito Martinez Middle School sits in an established, working-class suburb of Chicago. Dubbed “AVM” by the community, it is home to a large Hispanic population. Many students have family who live outside of the United States, and they have experienced other cultures while visiting them. “Those experiences give them a unique perspective,” said Allison Kucharski, Family Consumer Science and Special Education Teacher. “They understand that the world is a big place, and that what happens in other countries is important,” she said. “They also love to share stories about their heritage. I think that’s one of the reasons they were interested in learning about students in Central Asia,” she said.  Read more…

Justin Wynn Leadership Academy

Justin Wynn Leadership Academy, Evanston, Illinois

Leadership, sportsmanship, and citizenship – these are the pillars upon which the students selected to win the Justin Wynn Award and to join the Justin Wynn Leadership Academy live their lives because that is how Justin lived his life.

In 1987, Justin Wynn, a fourth grader, unexpectedly passed away; but from that tragedy came opportunity for children in Justin’s hometown of Evanston, Illinois to develop these traits and make their community a better place. Read more…

Foothill Elementary Santa Barbara California

Foothill Elementary School, Santa Barbara, California

In 2007, Michele Hay, a third-grade teacher at Foothill Elementary School in Santa Barbara, California, received an end-of-year gift from a parent. It was the book Three Cups of Tea, which chronicles the story of how Central Asia Institute and Pennies for Peace began. Inside the front cover, the parent wrote a note to Michele, thanking her for the year and for making a difference for her students. Michele has been teaching at Foothill Elementary for 20 years. “I consider Foothill home. We have a wonderfully collaborative and supportive staff, administration, and parent community,” she said.  Read more…

Robinson Barracks Stuttgart

Robinson Barracks Elementary School, Stuttgart, Germany

Robinson Barracks Elementary School is located in an American military community just outside of Stuttgart, a large metropolitan city in southwestern Germany. Like most Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS), the students who attend Robinson Barracks Elementary have one, and sometimes two, parents serving in the U.S. military, many of whom have been stationed in Afghanistan.  Read more…

Halton Hills Christian School

Halton Hills Christian School, Georgetown, Ontario, Canada

“The Dream that Changed Everything”

At Halton Hills Christian School in suburban Ontario, Canada, philanthropy has always been an important part of education. “Service, as we call it, means looking out for the interests of others—to go outside of yourself and see the world more objectively. To not only see injustices in the world but also to do something about it,” said grade four teacher, Liz Raja.

Last year, Liz’s class read “The Breadwinner” by Canadian author Deborah Ellis. It’s an award-winning novel about loyalty, survival, families, and friendship under extraordinary circumstances during the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan.  Read more…