On Monday afternoon, the Beacon conference room was littered with Dunkin Donuts coffee cups, water bottles, Dave’s Marketplace pizza boxes and laptop computers. This was the second meeting for high school students prepping to man tomorrow night’s mayoral debate.
The students from Bishop Hendricken, Pilgrim and Toll Gate High Schools pored over information on their computers and packets they’d printed. Some questions would be specifically for Mayor Scott Avedisian while others would be directed at Democratic challenger Richard Corrente. Airport, taxes, budget, schools and miscellaneous will be the major topics of their questions.
Also of importance was what students would play which roles. It’s more than just the candidates that need to be moderated; the crowd would need control, as well as whatever questions that came in from social media. It was decided that Matthew Forcino from Hendricken and Zach Colon from Toll Gate would co-moderate. Eddie Cascella from Pilgrim is the timekeeper. Rebecca Carcieri from Toll Gate and Collin Devine of Pilgrim will curate the questions submitted by the audience via 3x5 cards and Twitter.
One student brought up what is arguably the most critical matter of all: would we have wi-fi during the debate?
The students say their educational backgrounds are helpful in preparing them for the tasks they’ll fulfill on Friday. They take AP classes, participate in Mock Trial, and are parts of their school leaderships. Some are thinking of public service.
“I definitely think my involvement in school has helped me to get here and prepared me to take on this job of moderating,” said Matthew Gage, a senior at Bishop Hendricken who plans to study political science.
“Personally, I’m very dedicated to civics and hope for a career in public service,” said Sean Noonan, one of Gage’s classmates.
Matthew Forcino, another Hendricken senior, also said he would like to take a civic route and plans to study law, finance or public policy.
The hour-long debate will take place tomorrow night at 5:30 p.m. at City Council chambers. It’s free and open to the public, but audience members are asked to remain respectful and to refrain from interrupting the proceedings. While demonstrations of support for candidates are welcome, campaign signs and similar items that might cause visual impediment or distraction to others on hand will not be allowed in the Council chambers. Those wishing to attend are encouraged but not required to RSVP on the Beacon’s Facebook page or Eventbrite.com.
Questions can be submitted on 3x5 cards to Carcieri in the Council Chambers at City Hall between 4:30 and 5:25 p.m. on Friday or via Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #warwickmayoraldebate.