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Betsy Sawyer Day celebrates a teacher’s legacy of peace


By Chris Lisinski

GROTON — Beloved Groton-Dunstable Regional School District teacher Betsy Sawyer, who launched the “Pages for Peace” project that brought in hundreds of students and culminated with an exhibit at the United Nations headquarters, will be memorialized five months after she died from cancer.

And, in honor of Sawyer, the Big Book of Peace is coming back.

On Sept. 21, the Pages for Peace Foundation and Sawyer’s family will hold the first annual Betsy Sawyer Day to coincide with the International Day of Peace. A ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. at the Prescott School followed by cocktails and dinner at The Bull Run in Shirley at 6 p.m.

“It happens to fall on the International Day of Peace worldwide, and that’s why it was chosen,” said Alison Tocci, Sawyer’s sister and an owner of The Bull Run. “My sister’s legacy was to have kids be able to share their feelings about how to create peace.”

A number of guests will attend the day’s events, including 9/11 first responder and president of the FealGood Foundation John Feal and Anwarul Chowdhury, a former under-secretary-general of the United Nations. Chowdhury will meeting with Groton-Dunstable students before the Prescott School ceremony, and he will deliver the keynote address later that evening at The Bull Run.

Admission to the evening celebration costs $40 for dinner and a program, though attendees can pay an extra $10 as a donation to the Pages for Peace Scholarship Fund, which grants awards to graduating members of the Bookmakers and Dreamers Club that Sawyer started. Organizers will also hold a silent auction and raffles.

Funds raised will be split between the scholarship fund and a forthcoming “world tour” for the Big Book, Tocci said. The details of that tour are still being resolved.

Betsy Sawyer Day will kick off a two-week display of the 12-foot-tall, 1,000-page Big Book at the Prescott School. The book, which contains submissions of letters and artwork from notable figures such as the Dalai Lama, will be shown Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays starting on Sept. 21.

Tocci said the day will be a fitting tribute to her late sister.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all that she would inspire so many kids to continue on,” she said. “I don’t think you could have a better legacy.”

To purchase tickets for The Bull Run’s event, call (978) 425-4311 or visit

Follow Chris on Twitter and Tout @ChrisLisinski.

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