September 30, 2014
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They‘re not 'typical'

It’s unfair when all of Warwick’s schools are labeled as “typical” or worse, especially when you have the chance to meet with some of the public school system’s most exemplary students.

On Thursday, the Beacon hosted a School Committee candidate forum, and we invited three local high schoolers to be on the panel: Bianca Cappelli from Vets, Victoria Curley from Pilgrim and Tyler Inkley from Toll Gate.

The three students didn’t just show up to the forum expecting to be handed a list of questions to read from. They weren’t waiting to spoon-feed them the issues. Instead, they came fully prepared with intelligent, informed and creative questions. These high school students didn’t ask about the school cafeteria menu, prom or other issues that stereotypically resonate with teens. Instead, these students came with questions about their graduation by proficiency requirements or to where their school superintendent had vanished. Why, wondered Cappelli, were two superintendents getting paid if only one of them was working? All of them had questions about the senior project requirements, or about how NECAP scores would affect the junior class, of which Curley is a part.

And it wasn’t just their questions, it was their zeal for the event itself. Pens in hand, the trio took notes on which questions they would ask, thinking about how to properly word them so that both the incumbent candidate and the challengers could answer equally.

They collaborated with one another, discussing who would ask what, and who had the deepest personal connection to each of the various issues and topics.

During the debate, the students were poised professionals. Each clearly annunciated their questions and directed them to the candidates, reading both from prepared scripts and adding in anecdotes from their own personal experiences.

When the tables were turned, a candidate asked the trio for their opinions on the senior project requirements, they answered courteously and with careful deliberation.

Even when one of the students, Tyler Inkley, didn’t see eye to eye with a candidate, he showed his true pedigree: “I respectfully disagree,” he said.

The way these three students presented themselves on Thursday night was a true testament that Warwick Schools, and the students in them, are anything but typical.


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