Each year in September, the Wellington Rotary Club holds its annual peace ceremony aimed at promoting multicultural understanding and conflict resolution.
This year, the ceremony will be held Sunday, Sept. 20 at 3 p.m. at the Wellington Rotary Peace Park on Royal Fern Drive near the Wellington library.
The ceremony is the culmination of work that started in January with competitions in local schools.
Elementary school students were encouraged to submit posters that depict multicultural understanding and conflict resolution. More than 350 posters were submitted and judged. A winner from each school was chosen, and each will receive a check for $50 and a certificate at the ceremony.
Middle school students enter poems on the same topic. Approximately 100 poems were received, and a winner from each school will receive a check for $75.
High school students submitted essays on a chosen theme. This year, the words of Benjamin Franklin were used: “There is no such thing as a good war, and no such thing as a bad peace.” A winner from each school will receive $100.
All the winners’ teachers will also receive a check for $50 for classroom use. Furthermore, local scout troops were given a set of tasks for which they will be awarded with a Rotary Peace Merit Badge at the ceremony.
A single student has been chosen as the person who is deemed to have contributed the most in achieving the goals of the Wellington Rotary Peace Initiative. This year, Brandon Schloss of Wellington High School has been selected for his work as teen ambassador for the Stomp Out Bullying campaign.
The annual Wellington Rotary Peace Prize will go this year to former County Commissioner Jess Santamaria for his contributions to Palm Beach County and his other efforts, including advising local schools and his charitable work aimed at improving the lives of the less-advantaged citizens of Palm Beach County.
The ceremony will begin with the PBSO drill team providing an honor guard as flags are raised by the scouts. The Palm Beach Central High School Traditions choir will perform, and the words on the peace poles — “May Peace Prevail on Earth” — will be read in eight different languages. After speeches by dignitaries, reading the peace declaration and the presentation of prizes, the ceremony will end with the release of doves.
Dr. Wes Boughner, founder of the Wellington Rotary Peace Initiative, stepped down this year after chairing the program for nine years. Rotarian Larry Kemp took over as chairman with help from many other volunteers.
“The peace initiative is aimed at reaching out to all within the Wellington community and to bringing awareness of the continuing need for multicultural understanding and conflict resolution as a way forward to achieving world peace,” Kemp said. “It is especially important that we start this with our students and young people.”
The whole community is welcome to attend the hour-long ceremony. For more info., e-mail Kemp at email@example.com.
Wellington Rotary Peace Initiative founder Dr. Wes Boughner and chairman Larry Kemp.