Jacob Gardenswartz, University of Pennsylvania
Francis Parker School, La Mesa, CA
Jacob and the members of Theater of Peace, or TOP, routinely educate upcoming generations of students about the methods to diffuse confrontational bullying situations. TOP members present interactive skits for elementary, middle, and high school students to witness approaches such as ICE, interrupt, compliment, and escape. Serving as the student director of TOP for the last four years, Jacob has been essential to the organization’s growth by assisting in establishing partnerships, raising over $10,000 in grants, reaching over 5,000 students, and receiving recognition from local, state, and national officials, including President Obama. Jacob and the TOP members do not identify themselves or the organization as anti-bully, or anti-anything, but rather pro-peace as they strategically emphasize diversity, acceptance, and proactivity. Jacob has also served as a director, stage-manager, and actor in school, youth, community, and professional productions. In addition to having served as the keynote speaker at the TEDx Village Gate Summit, he is also the president of Francis Parker School’s Community Service Board, the Young Democrats Club, and the Gay-Straight Alliance.