United States 8 March: National City, CA

South Bay Schools Shine with Peace

We enjoyed celebrating peace with three elementary schools in National City in the South Bay region of San Diego. Our first visit was to Las Palmas Elementary.

Dr. Leighangela Brady, Superintendent of the National School District, presented Torchbearer awards to student Aron Chavez and to teacher Ashley Trzcinski.

Dr. Brady even integrated the theme of peace into her fashion choices. She pointed out to students that she had worn heart-shaped earrings and “N” and “C” charms on her necklace (to show National City spirit).

Mrs. Trzcinski spearheaded the school's annual 5K run. Mr. Juan Abenojar is a volunteer who frequently holds morning running workouts with Las Palmas students.

The Peace Run team poses with administrators and volunteers from Las Palmas Elementary.

We took a moment to focus on feeling peace within.

The joy of holding the Peace Torch!

Olympic racewalker Phillip Dunn joined the Peace Run team for our visit to Las Palmas.

At our second school, Palmer Way Elementary, the auditorium backdrop featured full-length banners with peace poems written by the students.

Palmer Way students singing the World Harmony Run.

Several students received commendations for their artwork.

Rosa Lopez, the school counselor, receives the Torchbearer Award for her outstanding work with the children of Palmer Way Elementary.

Palmer Way student Nikeya Roybal created a large piece of art and asked the Peace Runners to take it with them on the road.

Palmer Way students wearing their school red ran the Peace Torch and country flags into the ceremony.

The Peace Runners were treated to many delicious meals at Jyoti-Bihanga Vegetarian Restaurant. A big thank you to the staff!

Female students at Palmer Way celebrate International Women's Day.

Jessica Kisiel, who travelled from Utah to join the San Diego Peace Run week, finds a mural that fits her perfectly.

Student Shaira Sustal receives the Torchbearer Award alongside Ms. Lopez.

National City's Central Elementary was our third stop, where parents and administrators had designed a t-shirt especially for the occasion.

600 students joined the outdoor assembly at Central Elementary.

Jacob Cuenka hoists the Peace Torch after receiving the Torchbearer Award

Principal Steven Sanchez leads a lap around the schoolyard at Central Elementary, followed by students who participated in Girls on the Run.

Councilwoman Mona Rios spoke to the students alongside Torchbearer
Award recipients Natalie Gonzalez and Jacob Cuenka.

Student Body President Sebastian Pimentel leads a peace pledge.

Teacher Kimberly Tobias receives the Torchbearer Award for her strong efforts to create a safe, respectful, and harmonious classroom environment.