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Saugus High School dedicates Peace Garden

Posted: September 6, 2016 6:55 p.m.
Updated: September 6, 2016 6:55 p.m.
Members of Saugus High School's Rotary Interact Club and SHS principal Bill Bolde clap as the club's Peace Garden is unveiled on campus on Tuesday. By Katharine Lotze/The Signal Members of Saugus High School's Rotary Interact Club and SHS principal Bill Bolde clap as the club's Peace Garden is unveiled on campus on Tuesday. By Katharine Lotze/The Signal
Members of Saugus High School's Rotary Interact Club and SHS principal Bill Bolde clap as the club's Peace Garden is unveiled on campus on Tuesday. By Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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Saugus High School held an opening celebration and dedication Tuesday for its Peace Garden, created by the Santa Clarita Sunrise Rotary Club and the Rotary Interact Club at Saugus High School.

The Peace Garden is “for all students to use as a place to rest and find peace, talk out solutions when having difficulty with relationships and work out peaceful solutions to problems.”

The garden features a 4,000-lb boulder with a marble plaque, engraved with the Rotary Club’s four-way test: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendships? Is it beneficial to all concerned?

Colene Riffo started the Peace Garden project in 2005 after participating in an online peace conference where she learned about International School Peace Gardens (ISPG) and met Julia Morton-Marr. Morton-Marr is the founding president of the International Holistic Tourism Education Center, which works to develop global sustainability education programs in classrooms.

“I was always attracted to ways to promote peace and sustainability,” Riffo said. “A Peace Garden is a physical place in the school where students can maintain it, take care of it and work out their differences.”

Riffo brought the idea to the Saugus High School administration in 2005. The school’s principal encouraged her to continue with the project, but said the school district would not contribute to the cost. She designed the garden in Photoshop and tried, as a parent, to create a club for the garden.

“I struggled with that,” Riffo said. “It’s not easy to do that as an individual to do that without a powerful organization to do it with you.”

Riffo found an organization to help her when she joined the Santa Clarita Sunrise Rotary Club in 2014. She shared her idea with the club, which propelled the garden forward by writing for and receiving a grant from Rotary. Nearly 10 years after developing her idea, the Peace Garden received the funding it needed.

Riffo said the Rotary Club is already looking forward to obtaining grant funding for its next Peace Garden at SCVi Charter School in Castaic.

ccox@signalscv.com
661-287-5575
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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