Reflections on the Greenfield Peace Writing Scholarship Awards Ceremony 2020

We know that young people are vitally important in creating a better world now and for future generations. For the twelfth consecutive year, we have organized the Greenfield Peace Writing Scholarship to encourage Oregon’s youth to reflect some of the most pressing issues of our time. On Saturday, April 25th, 2020 we honored this year’s high school student winners at an Online Awards Ceremony. The theme of the evening was the intersection between climate justice and immigrant justice.

The program began with opening remarks by Maria Landin, Program Assistant at  Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. We also heard a welcoming message by Oregon PSR Board of Directors member and peace workgroup volunteer, Maxine Fookson, who discussed the mission of Oregon PSR, our commitment to Equity and Justice, and the history of the scholarship. 

The Greenfield PeaceWriting Scholarship was named in honor of Del Greenfield who started the project back in the 1980s when she was the Executive Director of Oregon PSR for sixteen years. Del committed her life to peace, and Oregon PSR is proud to continue her legacy with this project and all their work for a healthy, just, and peaceful world.

During the event, the three student honorees had an opportunity to share their winning entries. This year, the high school students who submitted their essays, poetry, and fiction work, responded to the question:  “How would an effective movement for climate justice benefit immigrant communities?” Congratulations to the 2020 Greenfield Peace Writing Scholarship winners:

1st place, Isabel Howard, West Linn High School

Isabel Howard is a senior at West Linn High School. Currently, the majority of her time is spent focusing on my school work, being with family and friends, or at her internship at a local, non-profit music school. She is very excited to major in chemical engineering next year at Oregon State University. She hopes to focus her education and future career on finding ways to create a more sustainable planet, which is why she is so honored to receive this scholarship.
Read Isabel’s entry.

2nd place, Kalani Korok, Tigard High School

Kalani Korok is a senior at Tigard High School. She is of Marshallese descent— she was born in the US, however, both of her parents immigrated from the Marshall Islands. Outside of school, she has a job as a childcare attendant at a childcare facility for children aged from infancy to 12 years old. She has grown up in Oregon her entire life, but upon graduation, she has decided to further her education at Colorado College. She intends to major in psychology and pursue a career as a licensed counselor specializing in either mental health or marriage and family therapy. Read Kalani’s entry.

3rd place, Jackeline Rodriguez, Phoenix High School

Jackie Rodriguez is a Senior at Phoenix High School, and is a first-generation student, planning to attend Western Oregon University to major in Community Health. She is currently an intern at Rogue Climate, working with their bilingual/bicultural programs and hosts the Cafecitos program. She is a four-year varsity soccer player and the president of her school’s DECA chapter. Jackie is passionate about climate justice and empowering youth and the Latinx community. Read Jackeline’s entry.

Our Awards Ceremony Keynote Speaker this year was Wendi Garcia, an environmental activist who came to Oregon from Honduras seeking asylum because of the construction of a hydroelectric dam. She fled Honduras fearing for her life after being tear-gassed and arrested by police when her community resisted dam construction that contaminated the water supply relied upon for drinking, cooking, and washing. Listen to Wendi’s story here.

The event ended with Q & A with the student winners, and final remarks from Pat O’Herron, Board President of Oregon PSR. 

Oregon PSR extends our most sincere appreciation to the 80 Oregon high school juniors and seniors who submitted essays, poems, and works of fiction for our 2020 Greenfield Peace Writing Scholarship. Thank you to our panel of scholarship judges, and to all who have supported this effort; includingour co-sponsoring organizations: APANO, Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice, Portland Immigrant Rights Coalition, Portland Jobs with Justice, Sunrise PDX, 350 PDX, and KBOO Community Radio. We extend our deepest gratitude to the Firerose Foundation and the Bonnie and Peter Reagan Fund at the Oregon Community Foundation for their financial support that makes this scholarship possible.

Weren't able to attend? Watch the live stream of the event here!

Listen to an interview with our student winners on
KBOO Radio's More Talk Radio program with hosts Cecil Prescod and Celeste Carey.

If you are currently in 10th or 11th grade, please keep an eye out for next year’s scholarship, which will be announced in September/October 2020.