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Educator presented with Joel Miller Award

Posted 06/30/15

Educator and Fitchburg State University graduate Rosemary “Betsy” Guercio Sawyer was recently presented the institution’s Joel D. Miller Award in recognition of excellence in the service of her students and the ongoing success of her Big Book Pages of Peace project.

Sawyer, a 1997 Fitchburg State alumna, is an 18-year veteran of education and has taught fifth-grade English and social studies at the Groton-Dunstable Regional Middle School for the past 12 years. The award was presented at the University’s annual retired educators luncheon, which brought more than 100 alumni to campus.

The Big Book Pages for Peace Project chronicles students’ stories, letters, poetry, artwork, pictures and songs. Her students have also reached out across the globe for testimonials from more than 3,000 people, including Nobel Prize winners like President Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Helen Caldicott and the Dalai Lama.

When complete, the Big Book will measure 12 feet tall by 10 feet wide and weigh more than one ton.

Since 2008, Guercio has brought her students to the United Nations in New York City to tell their story at the International Day of Peace Conference. In February, she was joined by 35 Big Book Peace Club students for a private meeting U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury in the newly renovated General Assembly. The students are making plans with these world leaders to display and exhibit the Big Book in the lobby of the U.N. Headquarters in October. Through that channel, the Big Book will make a virtual trip around the globe as hundreds of ambassadors from 190 member countries will see the volume on display and, hopefully, invite the exhibit to visit their place of origin, further spreading the important message of peace.

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