International students take their culture to prison

Six students and two professors from Grambling State University recently visited Wade Correctional Center in Homer.Charles Boyd, president of The Louisiana Kisatchie Chapter of the Jaycees (a prisoners organization at Wade) invited Dr. Marianne Fisher-Giorlando to bring some international students to present information about their respective countries for the Jaycees International Cultural Awareness Seminar as part of the Kisatchie Jaycee Week activities.

Students who went to Wade were Alice Leonce (St. Lucia), Madina Raimova (Kazakhstan, Anna Saniukevich (Belarus), Lusine Tarlamazyan (Armenia), Rodica Petrea, (Moldova), and Albina Ormokoeva, (Kyrgyzstan).

The other faculty member who accompanied the criminal justice professor and the students was Dr. Gaylon Murray, a Mass Communication professor.

Because one such trip was cancelled in the fall semester, the students had been anticipating their trip to the prison.

As Tarlamazyan said, “It will be so cool to visit an American prison.”

In preparation for the trip, Dr. Giorlando had to make sure that the students did not carry any contraband with them. That meant they had to leave their cell phones at the gatehouse. But they were allowed to bring in their thumb drives for their presentations. They also had to have their picture IDs with them.

The students gave a variety of presentations using PowerPoint presentations and videos. They also quizzed the men at the end of their presentation and the winner received a souvenir from their countries.

One of the prizes, given by Saniukevich, was a miniature basket woven from straw that was almost as small a man’s thumb.

“At the end of the evening, the sponsor had to collect the prizes as I don’t think the men were allowed to keep them,.” Dr. Giorlando said.

“As congenial an evening as it was, it is a prison.”

At the end of the Jan. 22 visit, the students were given certificates on behalf of the Kisatchie Jaycees, recognizing their presentations to the club.