URI honors Gandhi essay and service award winners

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Paul Bueno de Mesquita, director of URI’s Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies, presents Genevieve Masson, a student at St. Michael’s Country Day School in Newport, with her first-place award in the 2018 Gandhi essay contest. The awards were presented earlier this month at the Rhode Island Statehouse in Providence. (URI photos by Michael Salerno)

KINGSTON, R.I., May 23, 2018 — The University of Rhode Island’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies recently honored winners of its annual Gandhi essay contest and presented seven “Gandhi Selfless Service” awards to middle school students from across the state.

Awards were given to the first-, second- and third-prize essay winners as well as 15 finalists. The top prizes were awarded on May 4 in the governor’s stateroom at the Rhode Island Statehouse. Seven students were recognized for their outstanding service.

Established in 2010, the essay contest celebrates the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. Its purpose is to encourage Rhode Island students to think critically about, personally connect with, and be challenged to apply Gandhi’s message of nonviolence. The Gandhi Award for Compassion and Selfless Service, established in 2013, honors students who exemplify compassion and service to others.

Paul Bueno de Mesquita, URI professor of school psychology and Center director, described this year’s award recipients as truly inspiring.

“Emerging from a youth culture too often characterized by cyber-bullying and overwhelmed with the trauma of weekly school shootings, these talented and Rhode Island 8th grade students have stepped forward to be recognized for taking a courageous stand against violence with their creative ideas for peace and compassionate actions in service to others,” de Mesquita said.

Gandhi essay prize winners:

  • First place: Genevieve Masson, St. Michael’s Country Day School, Newport
  • Second place: Vika Huth, St. Michael’s Country Day School, and Caroline McCullough, Curtis Corner Middle School, South Kingstown
  • Third place: Katherine LaLiberte, Curtis Corner Middle School; Karlianne Torres, Segue Institute for Learning, Central Falls; and Chapman White, Edward R. Martin Jr. High School, East Providence

Gandhi Award for Compassion and Selfless Service recipients:

  • Kiran Ramratnam – The Pennfield School, Portsmouth
  • Magnolia Longworth – Curtis Corner Middle School
  • Lily Schattle – St. Mary’s School, Cranston
  • Grace Petrarca – Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School, Coventry
  • Nayan Sapers – Lawn School, Jamestown
  • Maria Japa – Nathanael Greene Middle School, Providence
  • Madison Cerda – Mount Saint Charles Academy, Woonsocket