Author Paul Volponi Visits MRHS!

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Azr Rajab

On Thursday March 31, 2022 author Paul Volponi visited Manchester Regional to speak about the importance of reading and all things about books. Paul Volponi worked at the Rikers Educational Correctional Facility from 1992 – 1998. A large chunk of Paul Vulponi’s books have focused on racial discrimination and abuses in the criminal justice system. One of the best examples of this is Rikers High where the character suffers at the hand of an uncaring teacher and abusive correctional officer. He would later author eleven young adult books.

Mr. Volponi has won a variety of awards such as the ALA Quick Picks multiple times and more. He currently travels around the country visiting classes like he did here at Manchester. His visit to Manchester began with a presentation to all literary classes. Vulponi focused on getting students interested in reading and writing, explaining that he himself was not interested at first. Personally, it was one of the only presentations where I didn’t find myself bored out of mind. Volponi also gave out extra credit assignments for anyone who could use them not only helping students out but engaging them more in reading and writing. At 5th and 6th period Volponi would host a more in-depth presentation for selected students. It would go into more detail than the general presentation. A follow up lunch would allow students to ask questions and get to know more about Volponi. Questions ranged from his previous work at Rikers to his favorite books. At the end a majority of students checked out Rikers High and plan on meeting again in a few weeks. One attendee named Adam Bagdough said, “It was an enjoyable experience that I wouldn’t mind doing again.” Another student Fahim Abdullah said, “It was really fun. I really enjoyed getting to know Mr. Vulponi. I also enjoyed the food offered.” I’d say that these views were echoed by everyone else who had attended the visit.