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Rose Rees Peace Award

Two District 281 Seniors Named Rose Rees Peace Award Recipients
Posted on 04/29/2020
Olivia Barfnecht and Orla WhiteRobbinsdale Area Schools is proud to announce two District 281 seniors have been honored with a Rose Rees Peace Award: Robbinsdale Armstrong Senior Olivia Barfnecht and Robbinsdale Cooper Senior Orla White.

The Rose Rees Peace Award is a program of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) Minnesota. According to its website, “the Rose Rees Peace Awards honor exceptional high school seniors from 25 local schools who have demonstrated a special interest in and commitment to international relations and world peace.” Now in its 85th year, the award's recipients were honored with a virtual celebration on April 22.

Olivia Barfnecht - Robbinsdale Armstrong High School
Olivia has been co-president of Armstrong’s environmental club the past two years, and is a member of the National Honor Society who played varsity soccer for the past four years, including being named captain this past year. Outside of school, she participates in club soccer and is highly involved in her church community, Mount Olivet Lutheran in Plymouth.

“This award is important to me because it's necessary to recognize the next generation of leaders and activists,” Olivia said. “I'm hoping my generation steps up, isn't afraid to exist loudly and continues to make change,” she continued.

This past summer, Olivia traveled to Washington D.C. with ‘Kids For The Boundary Waters’ to advocate for legislation to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) to prevent mining near the boundary waters watershed. “This was such a cool experience getting to meet young environmental activists from all over the country as well as meeting with representatives and members of congress,” Olivia said.

After graduation, she plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison and major in Biochemistry. Some of Oliva's aspirations include: going to pharmacy or medical school; studying abroad; and doing missionary work around the world.

Orla White - Robbinsdale Cooper High School
Orla participates in the International Baccalaureate diploma program, and is Cooper’s lead chair for the Relay for Life committee (which last year raised more than $55,000 for the American Cancer Society). Some of her involvement includes: being on the swim team in the 7th through 10th grades; participating in choir, band and the drumline in marching band; serving as co-captain of the improv troupe; being a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish club at school; and doing volunteer work at her church, The Catholic Community of St. Joseph in New Hope. Orla was also one of the organizers of the Seeds for Science and SEA Buddies tutoring groups at the School of Engineering and Arts (SEA).

“This award was such an honor to receive,” Orla said. “It is an opportunity for all of us from different schools and different backgrounds to come together and have productive conversations about the world we see today...[and] a time where us students are able to make our voices heard,” she continued.

After graduation, Orla plans to attend either the National University of Ireland Galway or the University of Puget Sound, majoring in Human Rights.