Babb students try to curb abductions

By Greg Gelpi

The abduction and killing of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia in Sarasota, Fla., prompted students at Babb Middle School to take action.

Members of the school's Family, Career and Community Leaders program developed a presentation to educate children about talking to strangers. They studied how willing children are to talk to strangers and taught them the dangers of doing so.

The Babb Middle School children won gold at the Regional STAR Events Competition. The Babb students performed their program, which included a song, presentation and demonstration they wrote, as part of the Students Taking Action with Recognition program.

"Our concern is that too many children are being abducted," seventh-grader Jasmine Andrews said.

News of Brucia's abduction and subsequent death lead the children to want to inform other children of strangers, Andrews said.

The students opened their program by asking how many elementary students wanted candy. Almost all of the children raised their hands, although none of the children knew the Babb students. The experiment demonstrated how trusting children are and how open they are to talking to strangers.

"Children should never talk to strangers," Avon Thapvongsa, a seventh-grader on the team, said.

The team of Tia Washington, Andrews and Thapvongsa will compete at the state level in Atlanta. They will make their presentation and discuss at their findings at the competition for a chance to advance to Chicago for the national competition.

"I think it's something that needs to be done with adults too," sponsor Brenda Ross said. She added that adults must be aware of the dangers that their children face and how their children react when approached by a stranger.

Also winning gold at the regional competition was Babb's parliamentary procedures team.

The team of Chelsea Bivins, Tiet Hoang, Vu Hoang, Benjamin Hughes, Holly Ann Macaranas and Priya Patel had to conduct a meeting demonstrating proper parliamentary procedure.

The team was given an agenda and a number of items to discuss prior to the mock meeting. Judges critiqued the team for its use of parliamentary procedures and ability to weave a list of motions and actions into the mock meeting.

The team is given the meeting agenda and business items and has 15 minutes to discuss the information and prepare to demonstrate their knowledge in a 20-minute meeting.

Many of the members of the parliamentary team honed their skills by serving as pages to local state legislators and watching the state's lawmakers abiding by parliamentary procedure.

Both teams will advance to the state competition April 19. The first and second place winners from the state competition will advance to Chicago from Jul 9 to July 16.