PHS Senior Speaks at United Nations on Global Disability

Perry Pride 200Rocco Grossi, a senior at Perry High School (PHS), was recently delegated to attend and speak at the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), which took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City from March 11 to 22. Grossi is a member of Perry High School’s Students Learn International (SLI), which is an advocacy group that discusses human rights and educational issues on a local and global level.

Through SLI, Grossi applied to be part of the national Girls Learn International (GLI) group.  As part of GLI, students can apply to speak at the United Nations. Grossi was one of nearly 4,000 students across the country who applied this year, with only 40 total students selected as delegates to the March session. Representatives of member states, United Nations entities and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world attended the session. To prepare for his presentation, Grossi met with a local advocacy group, who came together to discuss disability and accessibility in education. In particular, Grossi examined the rates of disability among young people in the area and questioned whether there are adequate services in place to support accessible education. “Attending and presenting at this prestigious event was a great way for Rocco to put his high school curriculum into action,” said Cassie Elliott, PHS history teacher. “When the time came to present on a global scale, he was able to prepare and deliver on all of the social studies and humanities skills he’s learned. It was a good realization for him—that he has the skills he needs to succeed far beyond high school.” Also at the session, Grossi attended different presentations and gained a wealth of information in regards to the UN’s agenda for the year. With this knowledge, Grossi can bring the global community’s agenda to Stark County, giving direction to educators and advocacy groups about the most pressing issues and potential solutions. At this particular session, the priority themes included social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. “Rocco was able to meet with a lot of really interesting people, including Heads of State and members of UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund),” said Elliott. “He had the opportunity to meet with people who are dedicated to solving some of these very big problems in our world, which was really influential for Rocco and his future.” Grossi, who will graduate from Perry High School in May, plans to study sociology and statistics at the University of Akron. Following his experience at the UN session, Grossi returned to PHS and shared what he learned and witnessed with students and staff on March 29. “Rocco’s designation speaks volumes about how well our K-12 district prepares students for real-world scenarios on both domestic and global levels,” said Superintendent Scott Beatty. “We are so proud of the way Rocco represented our district and look forward to all of his achievements in college and beyond.”