The winner of the 2016 Paul O’Neill Grant Award is Stephanie Sapakie, a photography teacher from Highland High School in the Gilbert Unified School District. The winning project is called Ignite Peace: Light a Spark. It is a collaboration between Highland’s new SPARK (Students Promoting Attitudes of Respect and Kindness) Club, Digital Photo Classes, and Photo Club. Ms. Sapakie stated in the grant application, “Peace is not a passive phenomena; it has to be created actively.” With this understanding, students and staff will identify 30 Highland students who are working toward peaceful environments at home, in the classroom, in the community, and in the world. They will use nomination forms, social media, and word of mouth to identify deserving stories. Images of the honored students will be hung in the school’s commons area, along with descriptions of what they do to ignite peace.
Marilyn Buehler, a member of the Through Each Others Eyes Board of Directors, awarded the the grant money to Ms. Sapakie during a surprise visit to her classroom.