“At the Table” builds a bridge of citizenship between students in Riga and Philadelphia

Editor’s Note: This is one in a continuing series of posts about At the Table, a new international student exchange project being undertaken by the National Constitution Center in collaboration with the National History Museum of Latvia. The project is made possible by a  Museums & Community Collaborations Abroad grant from the American Association of Museums.

Riga, Latvia (Flickr photo)

At the Table: Connecting Culture, Conversation and Service in Philadelphia and Riga connects high school students in Philadelphia and Riga while they explore factors that lead to active citizenship in their respective communities. The program will culminate in two service projects and a collaborative documentary film about civic engagement.

In this  post, we introduce the participating students from Philadelphia’s Constitution High School.

Mahougnon U. Lionel Detchou

Mahougnon U. Lionel Detchou is 16 years old and the eldest of a family of three children.  Lionel grew up in the Republic of Benin, a French speaking country in West Africa.  He enjoys playing basketball, football, and soccer.  He also likes going to the movies and hanging out with my friends. The thing that excites him the most about At the Table is the visit to Riga.  Lionel plans on studying accounting and finance to eventually become a CPA (Certified Public Accountant).

Ruby Payette

Ruby Payette is 17 years old and a senior at Constitution High School.  In her free time, Ruby enjoys cooking and baking, playing soccer (as well as other sports), traveling, taking photographs, and reading.  She is also interested in automobiles, architecture, music, and fashion. Ultimately, her life goal is to be happy.  As a participant in the At the Table project, Ruby is looking forward to putting together the documentary of the project, traveling to Latvia, and hosting the Latvian students in the United States to potentially helping improve the civic involvement of Latvian youth.

Stephen Cancel

Stephen Cancel is a student that sets high standers for him. Stephen is 17 years old and is a senior at Constitution High School.  Stephen lives with a wonderful and loving family in North Philadelphia. Where Stephen comes from plays a major role in who Stephen is, as a person. He wants to break the cycle and do things that his family has never done.  He wants to go to college and get his Ph.D. in criminal justice.

Jamir Cherry

Jamir Cherry is a 17 year old senior.  His hobbies are playing football, basketball, and baseball.  He is proud to join the At the Table program because it will give him the opportunity to learn about another culture while traveling outside the country, even though the long plane ride makes him nervous.  Jamir hopes to become a successful businessman and internationally known politician in the future.

Chalise Thomas

Chalise Thomas is 17 years old and a senior at Constitution High School.  What excites Chalise about the At the Table project are the skills that she will learn along the way.  She believes the most nerve-wracking obstacle is tackling a large project that has no official rules.  In the future, Chalise’s career goal is to go to medical school and become an obstetrician.

Gabriel Nieto

Gabriel David Nieto is a junior at Constitution High School.  Aside from the long plane ride from Philadelphia to Latvia, Gabe is excited to meet new people, learn about a different culture, and have the opportunity to visit a different part of the world.  His goal and career aspiration is to become a lawyer in criminal justice or become an attorney at Ballard Spahr.

Wells Brown

Wells Brown is a junior at Constitution High School.  She aspires to attend college after graduating high school and start a career as a writer or therapist.  Wells enjoy writing in her spare time, loves food, music, culture and the outdoors.  She is excited to start the At the Table Latvia Project and is eager to see what this experience has in store.

Himali Gandhi is a graduate student at Villanova University and International Fellow at the National Constitution Center.