Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 11-07-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | NOVEMBER 7-13, 2018 IN OUR SCHOOLS 19 Ready, set, hike! Flag football comes to Ricci NORTH PROVIDENCE – A group of students from Ricci Middle School are learning lessons in sports- manship and teamwork as members of the school's new flag football league, which met after school for the third time last Thursday. Eighth-graders Isaiah Smith-Johnson and Ryan Pallotta asked principal TJ Mellen for permission to start the league at Ricci. In three weeks, the program – open to all and with no tryouts – has attracted more than 50 students. Mellen, who coaches youth football in Lincoln, said the program at Ricci is entirely student-led. They're given a set of basic rules (such as no tackling and no swearing), but "they have a lot of decisions to make on their own," Mellen said. The students coach themselves, with eighth-grade students serving as men- tors to sixth and seventh-graders. The students were divided into four teams overseen by Mellen and referees Connor Fagan, a social studies teacher, and Joe Cordoves, who teaches math. Without assigned coaches, Mellen said students are required to problem- solve and work together to organize playing time and positions. A player cannot sit on the sidelines for more than two consecutive plays, so every- one gets an equal chance to partici- pate. Mellen said the program has been a great motivational tool, as it requires students have good academics and behavior to participate. "It's been especially great for the kids who might need a little extra motivation to get to school every day," he said. "This is keeping kids out of detention, and kids' behavior has turned around because of it." Mellen said the flag football team keeps kids out of trouble by giving them something to do after school on a Friday night. In addition, "students who might not make the school's com- petitive sports teams can still be a part of something," he said. The middle school recently com- pleted a five-week lacrosse program in partnership with Johnson & Wales University, which was also open to all students with no tryouts. Mellen said the lacrosse and flag football pro- grams, "offer students the chance to compete with peers in a safe and struc- tured environment." Both programs, Mellen said, align with Ricci Middle School's mission, "to provide students with opportunities after school that give them something to do while promoting a healthy life- style." "We have also seen an increase in student attendance because of these programs," he added. "These after- school 'sports clubs' motivate students to come to school, work hard aca- demically and show high standards of conduct." By NICOLE DOTZENROD Valley Breeze Staff Writer BREEZE PHOTOS BY NICOLE DOTZENROD ISAIAH SMITH-JOHNSON, grade 8, jumps for the ball during Thursday's flag foot- ball game, pursued by BRADYN SHADOIAN and MICHAEL FICOCELLI. MIGEL CARDARELLI makes moves to pass through a line of defenders during Thursday's flag football game at Ricci Middle School. BRADYN SHADOIAN, center, steps into the endzone as JAMES DUFAULT, right, and ETHEN HARRISON attempt to grab his flag. VINCENZO CASIERI jumps to block a pass as CHRISTOPHER ROBINSON catches the football. Ricci Middle School's BRADYN SHADOIAN, right, prepares for a catch as he's covered by JALEN ANTOINE, JAMES DUFAULT and JAMEL BOYD. 3rd Generation Family Owned and Operated Geoffrey Greene ~ LfD Jennifer Greene faGan ~ LfD Veronica Houston ~ LfD 2251 Mineral Spring Avenue, North Providence, RI 231-9307 • 70th Anniversary Year Monument Manufacturers INDOOR SHOWROOM Cemetery Lettering 91 Pawtucket Ave., Rumford 401-434-4064 Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. • Sat. 9 a.m.-Noon STANLEY GRANITE CO.

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