NEWPORT - one class of students at Thompson Middle School have a lot on their plates: a full class load, and a new pilot program called Generation Citizen - teaching them about service projects in their neighborhoods. "The students narrow down their choices of projects that they are interested in, and then they have to do the research, they had to go out and measure, they had to look up prices, calculate costs, and then a lot of public speaking," said Barbara Walton-Faria, an 8th grade teacher at the school. So the kids sent out surveys to their fellow students and voted on a plan to build a playground for the 5th graders. "Make them more fit, they need to be active, it will make them better at learning in the classroom," said Keana McCants - a group leader for the project. She took the reigns and lead the class on a research mission to find prices, make plans, and address the people in charge including the school committee at their Monday night meeting.. .detailing the small hard top that the students have to play on and ideas for how to make it better. "It was good to see kids speaking up, and doing it in such a grown up way... and it was just inspiring," said Jo Eva Gaines - school committee chair. Administrators hope that the program teaches kids to use their skills to make a difference in their communities.
"Some of my classmate, they're shy.. I am too but, sometimes you just have to step up for people, even if you're scared," said McCants.
The next step... is finding funding for the playground project to get off the ground.
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