Aspen High students vow silence |

Aspen High students vow silence

ASPEN – The halls of Aspen High School will be a little quieter Wednesday, as some 50 students have taken a vow of silence as part of Action in Africa Awareness Week.

“By vowing to remain silent for an entire school day, these students hope to raise awareness about children who have no voice because they’re child soldiers or for a whole variety of other reasons,” said teacher Matt Wells, adviser for the school’s Action in Africa Club. “It’s a very powerful statement.”

The students, many of whom have taken the vow in past years, will wear a lanyard to signify their commitment to remaining silent Wednesday, and so teachers won’t expect them to speak up in class.

“It’s become an established event at Aspen High, so I do think it works,” Wells said, noting the commitment to the cause from students such as seniors Natalie Melville and Alexa Mollicchi. “I think one year we raised more than $1,000, as the students collect pledges toward their goal of remaining silent.”

The vow of silence is just one part of the week’s events, all of which are aimed at raising awareness about issues affecting Africa while also raising money to support the club’s efforts in that part of the world.

“We try to create a week filled with events that get the word out,” Wells said.

Other happenings during this year’s Action in Africa Awareness Week include Donate a Dollar Day, a daily film and lecture series, a jewelry sale, a bake sale and a film screening.

The film screening, planned for 6 p.m. on Thursday, is a highlight of the week, according to Wells.

“The film is ‘Fambul Tok,’ which was screened at Sundance. It’s a really interesting and enlightening film, a cool grassroots story,” he said, adding that Aspenites who heard author Ishmael Beah speak in town or have read his book “A Long Way Gone” will especially want to see the film. “We think it’s something that not just the school community will be interested in. It’s something the wider Aspen community will really want to be a part of.”

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