Central Falls students set out for post-inauguration DC Women’s March

Central Falls students depart for Washington, D.C. to take part in the Women's March

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — With thousands of people expected to march Saturday afternoon in Washington, D.C. in favor of protecting diverse human rights, 42 high school students from Central Falls set out Friday morning to join them.

Seth Kolker, a Central Falls High School math teacher, organized the trip. He said some 140 people donated more than $10,000, and that’s taking care of food, lodging and transportation for all the students. Students interested in attending had to write an essay explaining why they wanted to go.

“I think it’s extremely important for young people to be able to be a part of something like this,” Kolker said.

The students were naturally excited for the huge event — and the trip south. “I’ve never really been past New York!” said Central Falls High School student Juan Reyes.

Caroline Berdugo, a student at Blackstone Academy Charter School, immigrated from Colombia five years ago. She said she’s marching in favor of gender equality and immigrant rights. “Compared to how it was decades before, I feel like we’ve made huge progress, but there’s still things we need to fix and ways to improve, and that’s what we’re marching for — for improvement,” she said.

“For a lot of the kids, this may be the first time they’re thinking about, ‘what’s my voice?'” said Kolker. “‘What’s the message I want to share with the world?’ And to have the chance to do that with a few hundred thousand people should be a beautiful experience.”