The skill to do it here


Three teens were in the state spotlight last week.

Maybe that shouldn’t be noteworthy. After all, it seems that kids are frequently in the headlines when it comes to crime or a tragedy such as an accident. It’s a distorted image projected by the actions of a few, but that’s news.

On the local level in newspapers like this, young people make the news regularly. Their achievements on our athletic fields, classrooms and in the community individually and members of organizations like the Boy and Girl Scouts are applauded. For the statewide media to take notice is another matter.

Yet last Tuesday reporters from the three major TV networks, radio and newspapers converged at the Warwick Area Career and Technical Center for the unveiling of three possible designs for a Rocky Point license plate. The designs are the work of Skye Whelpley, Meaghan Marcus and Anthony Lescarbeau, all students in the class of graphics arts teacher Jann Rogers-Gartner.

Their work was selected from about a dozen entries submitted in response to an invitation for designs from career and technical schools made by the Rocky Point Foundation more than a year ago. A non-profit organization, the foundation was established in 2009 to save 80 acres of the park that closed in 1995 and was being eyed for a major housing development. In 2010, voters approved a state bond issue that made state acquisition of those parklands not already acquired by the city from the bankruptcy court possible.

A license plate that celebrated the park and would provide income stream for the foundation to take on park projects was the inspiration of Rep. Joseph Solomon Jr.

And last Tuesday it was the creativity and professionalism of these three graphics arts students that had the news media’s attention. The three designs can be viewed on the website RockyPointPlate.com, where you can cast your ballot for the preferred plate as well as sign up to be a friend of Rocky Point. When the votes are compiled, a design will be named and the foundation will commence the pre-sale of the plates. Once a threshold of 900 orders is attained, the Department of Motor Vehicles will produce the plates.

What didn’t escape notice in Rogers-Gartner’s classroom filled with the work of her students was that here, in our own classrooms and from those who have yet to graduate from high school, is the imagination and talent to do work we can all be proud of. It didn’t take a high priced out-of-state firm to tell us what we should like or what makes Rocky Point special.

There’s more to the lesson these three students have taught us. It’s given the skill and the confidence that good teachers can instill and the openness of the community to entrust responsibility that we see progress.


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Perhaps Raimondo can call the students instead of her cronies next time she wants to conduct a publicity campaign for RI....taxpayers have nothing to lose.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017