Plainville Community Schools, 47 Robert Holcomb Way, Plainville CT 06062, (860)793-3200

Plainville Students Participate in Connecticut Youth Forum

Students from Plainville High School are debating current events and making new friends through participation in the Connecticut YOUTH Forum program. The program features monthly meetings at various schools in Connecticut, where high school students come together for lively discussion and debate on current events and topics of interest. Each school year, the "Student Exchange" kicks off the monthly forums featuring a day long program for students including workshops, discussions, and other activities. Plainville High School students Tyler Williams, Michelle Spinelli, Nicole Marquis, Briana Zink, Alyssa Marquez, Katy Scotella,Tyler Dashukewich, and Eddie Cochran attended the 2008-09 Student Exchange held at Saint Joseph College in October. Plainville High School junior Katy Scotella has participated in the youth forum program for the past three years. "When I started high school, I wanted to join a club, so I chose the Connecticut YOUTH Forum and I just love it. It's a great experience for all of the Plainville students who participate," explains Scotella. "The forum provides the opportunity for Plainville students to meet other students from across the state and discuss important topics in a respectful manner."

The mission of the Connecticut Youth Forum is to bring youth together through discussion and action while providing opportunities for growth and exploration as an individual and as part of a diverse community. Each student forum features a theme and students are briefed on rules for participation prior to the start of each meeting. Rules include being respectful to each other and allowing one person to speak at time. "The forum meetings made me realize that while students may look and appear different on the outside, we are faced with many of the same issues no matter what school, city or town we are from," said Scotella.

A contingent of Plainville students makes the trip to the forums each month under the direction of Plainville High School World Language Instructor and Forum Advisor Pam Gervasio. "We also receive tickets to Bushnell evenings four times a year," explained Gervasio. "Students have the opportunity to meet and learn from famous authors, politicians, scientists, athletes, artists, actors, Nobel Peace Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, playwrights, journalists, educators, economists and comedians. Many times we also get tickets for their parents to accompany them, which provides an educational bonding experience."

A number of Plainville students attended the November Connecticut YOUTH Forum held at Granby High School. The theme of the November forum was "When Dreams Become a Reality," where students discussed the economy and the recent presidential election. Previous forum topics included bullying, peer pressure, and other current events. Students who participate in the Connecticut YOUTH Forum also have the opportunity to serve in a leadership capacity and assist with community service projects. Scotella intends to continue participating in the Connecticut YOUTH Forum until she graduates in 2010 from Plainville High School. "It's just a great thing to do. It has been a wonderful experience and I have made many good friends as a result of my participation in the monthly forums."

"The CT Youth Forum has afforded many PHS students the opportunity to serve and lead. Pam Gervasio has done a superlative job creating these opportunities for our students," said Plainville High School Principal Greg Ziogas.

-Posted on December 3, 2008 at 04:24 PM

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