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RUSD Recognizes 2019 Peacemakers of the Year


This year, the 2019 Peacemaker of the Year awards were given to students who organized and lead peacemaking /diversity/projects /activities, participated in these types of events/activities, learned about and demonstrated, or modeled non-violent peaceful alternatives and/or creatively engaged students in peace awareness projects that affirm diversity or alternative lifestyles.

Congratulations to the following students:

Dalon Williams, Walden III High School
Dalon Williams demonstrates every day the ideals of diversity and acceptance. He has impacted life at Walden in so many positive ways with the goal of letting everyone know his message that it is "okay” to be you.  Early on, Dalon saw a need to help create a club for LGBT students and put in the work to make sure it happened. We are a school with much diversity already and Dalon wished to send the message that everyone is appreciated. His expectation for equality is demonstrated in his words, actions and belief in the goodness of others. Dalon has taught us all to be ourselves because the only way to be truly happy, is to be who you are meant to be.In bringing people together to celebrate differences, Dalon is Walden's peacemaker.



Lizeth Brito, Horlick High School
Lizeth Brito is a model student who is always working to better our school and her community.  At the school level, she is involved in Student Government, Key Club, NHS, is president of FCCLA as well as involved in swim, cheer and track.  She is constantly leading by example and showing students how to be calm and peaceful in situations. She constantly is encouraging underclassmen to solve their problems in a peaceful manner and you can notice her presence in the hallway when she works with students. Lizeth has exceptional leadership abilities and her leadership is not egotistical in nature. Rather, Lizeth empowers others to accomplish the task at hand. She has truly built productive relationships with fellow students, teachers and community members. She truly is a student who represents the steady heartbeat of what we expect and hope Horlick to be.

In the community, she has been involved with literacy movements, where she reads stories to young students at elementary schools. She also shares the power of education with them and how it has gotten her to where she is, a soon to be graduate of Horlick and student at Carthage College.  Lizeth has worked as a volunteer at HALO, where she helps to organize events for the children there to make their time more peaceful and engaging. At St. Monica's she is always ready to lend a helping hand from doing nails for the patients to make them feel more beautiful to ensuring that their time there is pleasant.  Lizeth is also involved in the YES group in the community where she has participated in peaceful protests as well as for Get Out to Vote.  

Esmeralda Rivas, Focus on Community 
Esmeralda Rivas became part of Focus on Community (Focus) in 2017 when she attended Teen Institute, a four-day leadership conference where the participants learn how to become more active in their community, use their voices to make a change and be positive role models for other youth. After Teen Institute, Esmeralda began volunteering at various community events and programs that Focus leads including the F.A.S.T program (Families and Schools Together), Strengthening Families program and supported any community event that Focus was participating in. Esmeralda quickly completed her 40 hours of volunteer service and became paid staff. The growth and dedication we have seen in this teen are unparalleled. Consistently and reliably supporting programming, maintaining a positive attitude and filling in whenever she is needed are just a few things that Esmeralda does for this organization. One example of this was last fall when Focus received a grant to complete 292 tobacco compliance checks. We were really struggling to find teens that would be willing to go through the training process and then follow through on completing the actual checks. In the end, Esmeralda helped us complete more than 200 of those checks, not only dedicating evenings but weekends and holiday school vacations. Our success would not have been possible without her commitment and work ethic. We look forward to continuing to work with Esmeralda and watching her skills evolve, grow and strengthen. She is an asset to Focus, her community and a role model to other youth.

Ole Cervantes, Case High School
Olegario (Ole) Cervantes is a senior at Case High School who holds a 3.3GPA. Ole is an outstanding young man who is very well respected by faculty and his peers, most recently being honored with his nomination to be on the 2019 Prom Court. 

Ole is the oldest of 3 children to Nora and Olegario Sr. Cervantes. They live on a farm where they raise 15 horses, goats and Ole's big Bull. Ole is a hard-working young man, who besides getting up early to help with the chores on the farm, also works at Kohl's. When Ole has free time, he enjoys fishing, cooking, horseback riding, rodeo's and Mexican dancing. Ole will be a 1st generation college student in the US and will be taking his talents to UW-Parkside in the fall with his end goal of going to law school. Ole is multilingual speaking English, Spanish and some French. Another amazing talent or skill that Ole has is his welding and sculpting. He recently competed in the Wisconsin Skills USA competition in Madison and took 2nd place overall in welding and sculpture in the state.


Jennifer Villalobos, Park High School
Park’s senior Peacemaker of the year, Jennifer Villalobos, has been involved with many activities, including National Honor Society, Leaders of the Pride, Link Crew and soccer. Her peacemaking skills shine and are refined in Restorative Justice. During Restorative Justice circles there is no one there to judge what is said or discussed. It’s a safe place to communicate. Most issues discussed are related to social media. For example, he said/she said that creates drama. There was one case where best friends were close to physically fighting because of what someone posted on social media. As a restorative justice Circle Keeper, Jennifer tries to accept and understand what people are going through. Being from an immigrant family, she keeps in mind that, "I’ll see better days If I keep going. Why give up now, give it your all.  We’ve been through so much."

Currently, she’s is an executive officer in Park High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Program ( JROTC).  After graduation, Jennifer wants to experience basic military training in the Air Force. She wants to do something bigger than herself by serving her country and protecting the rights of all. One day she hopes to become a pilot. Her favorite phrase from Latin, “non sibi”, means to look at the big picture by taking a step back. It’s about seeking a bigger purpose. "Non sibi" reminds her of her aunt who has inspired her and is an army veteran.

A special thank you to our sponsors, Racine Interfaith Coalition and Educators Credit Union. This year, each recipient received a trophy and a gift. Congratulations to all our Peacemakers!