Area High School Students Gather for Day of Peace Rally for Community Feb. 10

Over 600 youth from four Memphis-area high schools will gather at the first annual Day of Peace on Friday, February 10 hosted by St. Agnes Academy. The event, which takes place from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Memphis Sports and Events Center at 995 Early Maxwell, will include a presentation by Cortney Richardson, CEO of Peer Power, student speakers and prayer and worship as high school students gather to build peace.

The idea for the event was inspired last year by a St. Agnes student who started an organization to fight against violence after losing a friend to gun violence. After hearing her story, her St. Agnes classmates decided to take action to be agents of peace.

“We wanted to host an event for high school students that promoted peace and change,” said senior Isabella Gardino, a member of the St. Agnes student steering committee that planned the rally. “The theme for the day is I am peace. We want students to know that peace starts with them. Everyone is capable of making a change, and we want to help people recognize they have that power,” said Miss Gardino.

High School students from St. Agnes Academy will be joined by students from Christian Brothers High School, St. Benedict Academy and Sacred Heart in Jackson, TN.

In addition to Cortney Richardson, CEO of Peer Power, other speakers include Fr. James Martin Nobles, Director of the St. Martin de Porres National Shrine and Institute and St. Agnes Academy senior Jaila Hampton. Miss Hampton is very active in the Memphis community serving as a council member on Mayor Lee’s Shelby County Council on Gun Safety, a Bridge Builders Youth Action Board member, and as an Ambassador of the Memphis Ambassadors Program. She also founded a youth-led non-profit organization in 2021, Operation R.A.E. (Resources, Advocacy, Education).

“So often in our city we see people reacting to violence rather than responding to it. This event gives youth an opportunity to think about how they can be peacemakers for our time,” said Fr. James Martin Nobles.

The Day of Peace is sponsored by the St. Martin de Porres National Shrine and Institute at St. Peter Catholic Church and the Diocese of Memphis.

“Our goal is to show that we are all agents of peace in our community. I hope everyone leaves the event inspired to make a change in their community, big or small. We hope this becomes an annual event that would grow to include more high school students each year,” added Miss Gardino.


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