Centennial High Law Program Partnered with Police
for Annual Police Banquet

Submitted by Todd Wolff, written by Mikayla VanArsdel.

“The police are the public and the public are the police,” Sir Robert Peel stated many centuries ago. What does that really mean? Police officers have an obligation to interact with the public because the simple truth is they are the public also. What makes a great officer public connection is known as community policing. That’s where the police and the public interact together to help each other. What better way to see community policing in action than the police banquet Centennial High School hosted? Centennial high school partnered up with Peoria police department in hosting the annual police banquet. Each year, Peoria PD has a banquet for their officers to hand out their awards. Centennial’s own Elliot Wnek, the teacher for the Law program, decided for their community service, to partner up with the police department in order to do something extravagant for them. “We wanted to put this banquet on to just say thank you and also show the cool things that students can do,” Wnek stated. He paired up with Peoria’s Commander Lekan in creating this set up. Wnek didn’t head this on his own; he appointed a lot of his law enforcement students for help in preparations for this event. Not only did Centennial’s Law program head his, but they also partnered up with all of the criminal justice classes. Engineering, Building Trades, Photo, and Art club all gave a hand to make this event even better. Then, Centennial’s culinary program cooked a three-course meal that would put a five star restaurant to shame. The night was a special night to remember for the officers. The banquet was held in the cafeteria and the auditorium. The officers and their spouses entered the cafeteria and then got their pictures taken for a little memory to take home. The cafeteria was transformed into a magical place to convey appreciation to the Peoria Police Department. Dinner was served around 6:30 p.m. by the culinary program. There was soft music playing in the background. Around 7:00 p.m. the guests made their way down the red carpet to the auditorium, and they were seated for what promises to be an “Oscar” event. Students, officers, and officials presented awards to the police officers. Awards like the “Saving a Life Award’ or “Police Officer that Helps Centennial the Most” were presented. It is a memory that the police officers will cherish forever. “When the police officers leave I want them to feel like, ‘Wow, a bunch of students did that for me?’” Wnek stated when talking about the banquet. Teamwork makes the dreamwork is what the night was all about. Centennial worked hard putting together a memorable banquet for the police officers. The students really wanted to create a banquet to say thank you for all the things police officers have done. The police never get recognized for the things they do and Centennial made sure they expressed it!