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CITVC Alumni

Our past students have grown culturally as a result of CITVC.

Here are their stories!

  • Rachel Yanosh
  • Mariah Ross
  • Matthew LaCorte
  • Stephanie Domuracki
  • Joe Bavazzano
  • Jillian Menendez
  • Peter Canavan
  • Chase Agapito
  • Bradford Wu
  • Tasnim Ghani
  • Kayla Rillo
  • Lauren Lawson
  • Alexa Fontanella
  • Alex Rodriguez

My name is Rachel Yanosh. I was in the first Contemporary Issues Through Videoconferencing class that ever existed at Passaic Valley High School back in the 2008-2009 year.

That class brought to my attention to all that goes on in the world and how it affects our country as well as how our country affects the world. It taught me how important it is to be a global citizen and fight for what is right even when others are afraid to do so.

In 2009 my classmates and I held a fundraiser to help the refugees in Darfur and we also did a television segment for NJN on human trafficking in the United States to raise people’s awareness.

The class did cause me to pay more attention to my everyday life and the choices I make that affect the world. For example, when I was in the class we participated in a videoconference series on fair trade products and what fair trade was; from then on I only bought and drank coffee that was a fair trade product. 

I am majoring in Sports Medicine at Montclair State University and CITVC did push my interest to study Sports Medicine and focus on the standards for medical treatment of athletes around the world. This class is a great asset for the students of Passaic Valley.
They learn and grow so much and each year brings new opportunities to make a difference in the world.

I'm Mariah Ross. As of my junior year of high school, I was sure of two aspects regarding my future: I wanted to travel and I wanted to help people.

These two ideas could fit comfortably in a multitude of professions. In an attempt to get an idea of what course of study I would take in college, I enrolled in CITVC my senior year (2010-2011). CITVC nurtured these passions in ways I could not have imagined possible. It was as simple as walking into a classroom, sitting in front of camera and talking with people; in those hours, I had left the country.

As simple as it was, these conversations raised complex questions about myself, the world I lived in, and what I could do to change both of these for the better. In response, I was shown both the practicality and necessity of my passions. Conversations with politicians, administrators of NGOs, and members of the United Nations proved that there were concrete career paths in such a field.

Class discussion and material proved time and time again that while progress has been made, society is far from resolving all of its issues. The reason for my love of learning changed from the pure joy of knowledge to use said knowledge to help others. Various CITVC fundraisers were beneficial, but they were certainly not enough for me to feel that I had done my part as a global citizen. Currently, I am attending Seton Hall University as a Diplomacy and International Relations major in order to nurture my beliefs and desire to be a part of global change.

CITVC had an impact on the way I look at the rest of the world.

My name is Matthew LaCorte and I am a sophomore at Hofstra Univeristy. I was in CITVC during the 2010-2011 school year. I feel like I got lost in the small world of my New Jersey town during high school and didn't understand the magnitude of the world around me.

Because of the CITVC class, I broke down personal borders and began to understand the vast world around me and learned about different cultures and countries.

I participated in a cultural exchange with students from Ghana, video-conferenced with students from countries I never heard of beforehand, and learned more than I ever thought I could about geography, culture, and global politics.

Because of these experiences in high-school, during my first year in college I was able to explore new classes, new challenges, and new assignments with an open mind and open heart.

My name is Stephanie Domuracki and I attend Lehigh University.

CITVC has absolutely had an impact on my global perspective. I took CITVC during my junior year in high school in 2008-2009. It takes you out of ordinary/routine Algebra or English classes and gives you a taste of the real world beyond your town and high school. It opened my eyes to many new cultures and directed my attention to world issues that I probably would not have been exposed to otherwise.

It also sharpened my communication skills and broadened my horizons on the complexities of our world.

After taking this course, it ignited a fire to the spark of interest I already had in world affairs and political science. I am considering it as a minor degree at my university, and thus far have taken an international relations course to further develop my knowledge base. I would highly recommend CITVC to anyone.

Contemporary Issues Through Video Conferencing is one of the most out-of-the-box courses offered at any high school.

My name is Joe Bavazzano and I am a sophomore at Montclair State University. I took CITVC in the 2010-2011 school year. CITVC takes the typical classroom experience and puts you anywhere in the world. My time as a CITVC student was not only educational but life changing as well. The course provides students with more than just a topic; it lets students become a part of what they are learning about.

When you are allowed to indulge in curiosity you walk away with so much more than any book could ever teach. For example, when studying a global issue, you are provided with a chance to connect and hear firsthand from other students how they feel. A lasting impression is left on a student by making these connections.

Being part of something as ground breaking as CITVC leaves you with a sense of pride, you know you were part of something great. Every student brings something to the table and with this course each student can excel.

The course’s flexibility engages students to truly show off their individual skills. There are an innumerable amount of skills I have learned from my CITVC course. From politics to technology I walked away not only a better student but a better person.

You can teach the textbook or you can live it, CITVC does the latter!

My name is Jillian Menendez,
I am a former CITVC student (2009-2010 school year) and I am currently a junior at Arizona State University studying Special Education.

There are many things that CITVC class has taught me about becoming a global citizen. I have spoken about my experiences in CITVC with videoconferences we have held with other countries and how it has changed and impacted my life. I have had professors who I have spoken with about what I have learned and how it has opened my eyes to things going on in our world.

They have asked me to do presentations on Darfur to share with my class what I learned and give insight to my classmates on global issues as well. I have also taken a college course based on sustainability and how we can help our planet and those that live in it. I choose to take this course so that I would be able to inform my future students about major issues our planet faces.

I think that being a part of the CITVC class offered at Passaic Valley High School has provided me with information that I have personally benefited from and been able to share with others. CITVC is a class so different from any other class offered at a high school, I think it is a great experience for students and it is unique to Passaic Valley.

Learning about being a global citizen has made me get more involved in different programs and volunteerism. If there is one thing I learned from CITVC it would be that helping others and listening to their stories can change who you are and the things you do.

Contemporary Issues through Video Conferencing (CITVC)
was one of the high school classes that will
resonate with me my entire life.

My name is Peter Canavan and I attend Rutgers University. The chance to talk to different people around the world in the center of current controversial issues was extremely beneficial to me and my classmates. As a high school junior in 2008-2009, the class awed me, opening my mind to different perspectives. As a third year college student, I am so thankful for the opportunity Ms. Menake and the CITVC class gave me.

One particular CITVC video conference I remember clearly was with scientists stationed in Antarctica. Our casual class discussion developed into talking a lot about climate change. This sparked my interest in environmental issues. Actually seeing the ice caps melting and communicating with the scientists studying; it was unbelievable.

Now a college junior studying Environmental Policy, I am planning my life career around preventing the pollution of green house gases through a development of effective policy. I credit and thank Ms. Menake and CITVC with sparking this interest and opening my mind to the diverse environmental perspectives of the world.

I'm Chase Agapito and I am currently a college student at Seton Hall University.
CITVC was my favorite class in high school.

I was in CITVC in 2009-2010. It provides something different than typical classwork like reading a textbook or practicing math problems. It allows students to directly engage the world of which they are a part. I was able to make friends in Canada, Germany, and even made friends with visiting foreign exchange students from Ghana.

In class, we videoconferenced with experts on subjects ranging from climate change to human trafficking. The class also increased my exposure to current events and issues in the world; it also required much teamwork, for instance when we hosted a multi-school conference. CITVC is like no other class.

It provides for the exchange of ideas and experiences among students and experts that serve to show us that we are all small parts of one global community.


My name is Brad Wu and I was a member of the Contemporary Issues through Videoconferencing class for the 2011-2012 school year. I am a sophomore at  the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

CITVC allowed me to understand other cultures and religions. Having background knowledge and communicating with global citizens prepared me to make connections in college and my work field. Although the class did not impact my career choice in the medical field, it showed me the qualifications of a successful professional and the countries that need the most medical aid.

My name is Tasnim Ghani and I was a member of the 2011-2012 Contemporary Issues Through Videoconferencing class (CITVC).

The variety of videoconferences that I was able to participate in really helped me to gain a different perspective into the lives of others around the world that isn’t always portrayed in the media. From talking to people about serious topics such as the Arab Spring and Human Trafficking to fun topics such as salsa dancing and music, my time in CITVC broadened my horizons and gave me opportunities to talk to so many different people.

As a rising sophomore at Rutgers University, and a student in the SAS (School of Arts and Sciences) Honors program, my experience talking to people of different backgrounds has helped me feel more comfortable at one of the most diverse universities in this area.


My name is Kayla Rillo, and CITVC positively impacted my life in so many different ways.

From being in the class in 2011-2012, I was able to become a global citizen and I was given the opportunity to have a hands-on approach to learning instead of reading out of a textbook. While videoconferencing, I was able to feel the emotions the other students and speakers had. I was able to fully understand their viewpoint in a way I would never have been able to if a secondary source was lecturing me on these same topics.

I am currently a sophomore and a political science major at Seton Hall University and CITVC did affect my college life. From the class, I was able to better understand humans globally which interested me in social anthropology as well as sociology and law. While videoconferencing we learned about different religions and different cultures, which has helped me in my Comparative Politics class as well as my religion course because I was pre-exposed to these ideas. I appreciate the time I had in CITVC because I know it is a one of a kind class. I learned how to work well in groups to prepare for major projects like moderating videoconferences.

It helped me gain confidence with my public speaking, too, because nothing can make someone want to sound more professional on camera than speaking directly to people from other countries, while knowing you are representing yourself and the United States with every word you say.

I met one of my best friends in this class, a foreign exchange student named Isabel from Germany, who stayed with me for a week my senior year of high school. She and I are still in contact almost every day and I am so happy I was able to meet her through this class. While she was here, I learned a lot about German culture and customs and some things surprised me like how impressed she was by the American lifestyle. It puts your life into a new perspective by being in this class.

My name is Lauren Lawson, and I am a member of the 2012-2013 Contemporary Issues through Videoconferencing Class. Being a member of CITVC is something that I will truly treasure forever. As I finish up my freshman year of college at Montclair State University, I can honestly say that CITVC affected me in more ways than one.

CITVC gave me a new sense of confidence. I am now able to address and speak in front of a room of strangers, something that had always made me nervous and anxious before I took CITVC. Having the opportunity to speak to the dozens of people from around the world helped me better understand what life is like outside of our tri-town area. I will forever hold on to the memories created with my CITVC and my amazing instructor Ms. Menake. I will never be able to thank her enough for the privilege of being a member of this course.

My name is Alexa Fontanella. As I am wrapping up my freshman year in college at Drexel University, I look back on the many unforgettable experiences and opportunities CITVC offered me in my senior year of high school, i.e., 2012-2013. It is not every day when someone can say they spoke to almost twenty different countries in less than 24 hours about different cultures and contemporary issues occurring throughout the world.

Being in college, a place that is so diverse, I find myself thinking of how lucky I was to gain knowledge on the world all while talking to the people who know the topics best. There really is no better learning experience than to speak to people living through all of the topics we discussed in class. This past spring break I participated in a Study Abroad Program to London, and I feel I may not have ever participated on the trip if it was not for my experiences in CITVC and wanting to learn as much about the world as possible.

My name is Alex Rodriguez and I am completing my first year at Seton Hall University. I was in the CITVC class in 2012-2013. It  has really helped me grow as a global citizen and personally as an individual. Because of this class I have become more aware of certain issues going on both nationally and internationally that affect the world as a whole and understand the importance of each event. Because of CITVC, not only have I become more aware, but I'm also very sympathetic to all the tragedies occurring around the world which motivates me to want to make a change.

CITVC made me more globally engaged with the world both on the national and international scale which made me appreciate everything I have right now in my life and realize that other countries do not have the same luxuries we do in America. CITVC made me want to help make a change in the world so there is fairness and equality everywhere, so that one day the world will be a better and safer place to live in.

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