Paul Cuffee Student Senators Get a Glimpse of the Real Thing at the RI State House


(Left) A welcome message from Speaker of the House, Nicholas Mattiello, and host representative, Grace Diaz. (Right) Paul Cuffee Student Senate members Claudea Varela and Elvis Sanchez collaborate on points for their mock debate in chambers at the RI State House.

October proved to be a busy month for the Paul Cuffee Upper School Student Senate. The Senate is comprised of four senators elected by their peers in grades 9 through 12 and a representative from each advisory. Their responsibilities include promoting a positive school culture through planning events and raising awareness of issues. The Senate is advised by Upper School Reading Coach and ELA teacher, Alysia D’Urso.

The Student Senate visited the State House in October. After a tour of the State House, they engaged in a mini debate led by Representative Grace Diaz (District 11). The Student Senate sat in the state representative’s chairs and discussed selected issues. They were just like representatives themselves, buzzing in and standing to deliver their argument. They eloquently spoke about college, jobs for students, and their responsibilities as citizens. Representative Diaz remarked that they inspired her.

Following on the heels of the State House visit, the Student Senate organized a poetry contest at the Upper School with the theme of “anti-bullying” in recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month. Nine students and the drama club entered this competition and the winners will present their work at an open mic contest at AS220, an artists’ performance space in downtown Providence.


Average Class Size: 20
Current Enrollment: 820
Students of Color: 96%
Female Students: 51%
Male Students: 49%
Free/Reduced Price Lunch Eligibility: 82%
Multi-Language Learners: 19%
Students Receiving Special Education Services: 13%
Total Employees: 168
BIPOC: 45%
Female Employees: 75%
Male Employees: 25%