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Supporters Seek New Vote On Rwanda Trip For WHS Students

The Woonsocket School Committee rejected a proposal for creation of a Global Citizenship program at Woonsocket High School.

Jason Marzini, teacher adviser for the knows that Woonsocket Students could benefit from a Global Citizenship Program.

Woonsocket, Marzini believes, would be perfect place to implement the innovative year long, credit bearing academic plan, currently in its eighth year at Harwood Union High School in Vermont. The real-world educational opportunity culminates in a a three week travel study to Rwanda.

"I think a lot of kids in Woonsocket are disenfranchised and this type of program builds hope and empowers people that they can have impact," said Marzini.

Woonsocket High School began it's relationship with the African country during the 2010-2011 school year. Students in grades 10 through 12 learned about the Rwandan genocide and in December, took part in featuring students from Harwood Union High School’s Rwanda Program, who had recently made an educational trip to Africa. Rotary International students have since completed a book drive, and are preparing to send over 1000 books to the country.

Marzini has worked closely with the Rotary Club, Woonsocket High School, and Extended Learning Opportunity Coordinator Caroline Doherty to prepare for the next step: development of a WHS Global Citizenship Program. The group has designed (and even began to fund) the proposal, a unique chance for city students to earn credits investigating global issues through out-of-school instruction, independent research, community service learning, and cross-cultural exploration.

Only one obstacle remains for the program to take flight: approval of the Woonsocket School Committee.

Marzini presented his proposal at the June 22 School Committee meeting, receiving recommendations by both former Superintendent Robert Gerardi and Chairman Marc Dubios. The trip itself would be offered to kids in grades 11 and 12 and would cost $3,000, with all funds to be raised by the students. Committeewoman Vimala Phongsavanh offered to donate 10% of her member stipend to the project.

After a brief presentation Marzini stayed to answer questions and concerns about the proposal. Committeewoman Eleanor Nadeau inquired about the safety of the country. Rwanda, Marzini explained, has been deemed a safe place to do business by the World Trade Organization and has been recovering in relative peace since the 1994 genocide.

Committee members Linda Majewski and Eleanor Nadeau voted against the plan. Committeewoman Anita McGuire Forcier was not present, creating a 2-2 tie vote.

The proposal was rejected.

"I have concern about international travel with minors," explained Majewski. "I think it's best left for college students."

"I suggest you reschedule," said Dubois in reference to McGuire Forcier's absence.

The proposal will be heard again Wednesday night. This time, Marzini will bring along an instructor from Harwood Union High School, where the students are planning for their eighth trip to the country. Nadeau and Majeski have both told supporters they are willing to take a second look.

Marzini said he is confident the proposal will receive approval on Wednesday. "It's important," he explained, "because it expands inner city kid's perspectives and they become global citizens."

STEPHEN WEBER July 14, 2011 at 06:45 PM
I deleted the comment in question myself first thing this morning. I had earlier in the week vowed to myself to never comment here on the Patch again because so many of my comments here have been deleted for NO good reason .... None of which contained ANY vulgarity or personal attacks whatsoever ... All were very blunt and outspoken, and some strongly worded in my opposition to certain subjects but NONE WERE INAPPROPRIATE !!! I always say what I think and feel online as well as in person and my First Amendment rights have been totally violated by this site ( THE WOONSOCKET PATCH ) numerous times as my opposition and opinions on Gay marriage and other controversial subjects which I do not approve of differs from the staff here and are quickly Deleted... This has happened many times!!!! Too much Censorship of opinions that differ from your own are nothing more than a Marxist or Socialist action...
Sandy Phaneuf July 14, 2011 at 07:00 PM
Stephen, I have deleted VERY few of your comments. We did have some issues with the comment stream last week during a site update which unfortunately removed several comments (including some of my own.) We have strict guidelines regarding what is and is not appropriate, and if you look back to see how many of your comments still exist (along with plenty of other commentary from readers with similar points of view) it becomes obvious that the claim of censorship based on any sort of opinion is not based in reality. That said, if your comment contains what would constitute hate speech in a court of law, is derogatory, and/or contains a personal attack, it will be removed, as is the case on virtually every credible news site on the web.
STEPHEN WEBER July 14, 2011 at 07:24 PM
Sandy , What exactly is " Very Few" ? What violates Guidelines?? Readers should be made aware and you should have the "Posting Guidelines " in a tab on top the front page somewhere... I stand by my statement that I have NEVER used vulgarity on this site and I've NEVER engaged in personal attacks on any individual., so I'm curious why ANY or "Very Few " of my comments at all have been deleted... Please Enlighten me... If the kids going out for recess don't know and are not made aware of the the rules upfront there is likely to be anarchy on the playground and it's not right to make em stay after school...
Michael Andrew Baldelli July 14, 2011 at 07:25 PM
Mr. Weber -- Just for the record: your First Amendment Rights only protect you against censorship from government -- that is Congress -- as is worded here from the Bill of Rights: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. As this is a social board of sorts, it does not fall under Congress or Congressional action against you or your voicing your opinion. Further, barring what Ms. Phaneuf said about upgrades and subsequent accidental deletions of your messages -- anything said here falls to the mores of the collective flagging any of your comments inappropriate. Might I suggest you read several examples of how such a site like this falls outside of First Amendment protection: http://bessel.org/privorg.htm
Patrick Luce July 14, 2011 at 07:55 PM
Mr Weber, We welcome and encourage all reasoned opinions that contribute to the ongoing dialogue we aim to foster on issues impacting the community. We respect and welcome all viewpoints on the issues in order to have a comprehensive debate. That said, we do require a modicum of decency in all posts. Unnecessarily vicious or demeaning comments that do not add to an educated debate, and are clearly intended to insult, are not welcome on Patch and will be removed. We welcome your and everyone's opinions on all issues, and we encourage you to continue posting your comments. But we ask that all contributors remain civil and refrain from baseless insults. Thank you very much for you past and future contributions to Patch.

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