By: Samara Irizarry and Shanelle Lewis
Wethersfield High School has given many students opportunities for their future once graduating. Students are given local scholarships (Dollars For Scholars) that benefit those that reside in Wethersfield. Unfortunately that is not the case for CREC Open Choice students that also attend WHS.
Capital Region Education Council (CREC) is an organization that creates high quality programs for people within cities such as Hartford. This has given a window of opportunity to Hartford students to study in suburban towns.
The Dollars for Scholars program has been assisting local students at Wethersfield for years now. It’s always been a go to since it’s only requirement has ever been to attend school at Wethersfield and be a resident of the town. However, nobody has taken the time to consider the students that spend the bulk of their academic years at Wethersfield school’s as CREC open choice students in these scholarships.
This was until five former students of WHS: Erin Robles, Yasmin Lazu, Amayia Giscombe, Lauren Mcalister and Kiara Lazu, took the initiative to start The Primary Project.
This project focuses on the needs of CREC students at the high school who can’t qualify for a Dollars for Scholars scholarship simply because of their residency. They're creating a new scholarship to help relieve some of the financial burden of college these students may have to carry without it.
We interviewed members of the team and they sent their shared responses.
“The Primary Project promotes visibility and education on diverse cultures that students might not be aware of. Wethersfield is a majority white town and we want students to hear the stories of their BIPOC peers’ that may be different to their own,” says Yasmin and Amayia.
Open choice students at WHS have also expressed their opinions towards this. “I feel like not being able to apply discriminates against the choice students. In a way it reminds us that we are not part of the community although we attend school at WHS and have friends here. It’s sad, but The Primary Project will change that,” says WHS senior and open choice student Lynn Blot.
CREC Students have made major contributions towards the Wethersfield Community and this program's goals will help amplify their voices.
The Primary Project has three main pillars that they follow: yellow, red and blue.
Yellow represents community. “CREC students are a crucial part of our town because they participate in town events, do community service, and contribute lifelong connections.”
Red is for advocacy, “In our years at Wethersfield High School we have seen a need for both students and staff to advocate for marginalized communities.”
And finally, blue for culture. “We believe it is important that students recognize and value their own cultures as well as all the cultures around them.” The Primary Project uses these core values to help determine recipients of their scholarship.
Additionally, members of the program have reported gaining support from Wethersfield High School as well as working closely with social studies teacher Doris Duggins and the school's BSU (Brothers & Sisters United) club. Principal Tom Moore and other staff members at WHS have also conveyed their support towards The Primary Project.
Team members Amayia Giscombe and Yasmin Lazu say, “It’s been exciting to see how staff, students, and members of our town have expressed their support.”
The community of Wethersfield can help bring awareness to The Primary Project. You can support them by following their Instagram page (@theprimaryproj), sharing their posts or messages, or even purchasing their t-shirts and hand designed stickers in their store.
For further information and to buy apparel and gear to support their vision, visit The Primary Projects website: https://www.theprimaryproj.com/
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.