Reported by: Pari Kapila (Douglas S. Freeman High School)
Compared to other days at the HSLP, this day definitely felt like a slight break, as we were able to spend the morning working in our policy groups. Even though we’re starting to feel the weight of our policy projects on our shoulders, we had a calm, productive start to our day. Everyone was working hard on their policy proposals in order to reach the 10 p.m. deadline for the proposals' first draft. It was amazing to really see all of our work finally come together.
The first speaker of the day was Mr. Brian Canon, executive director of OneVirginia2021. His vision for this organization is to reform the gerrymandering and redistricting within our Commonwealth with bipartisan support. He displayed how both parties are guilty of reducing the amount of competitive elections within Virginia. It was very interesting to see how much of an impact this has had on our elected Delegates and Senators.
Soon after, we had the honor of listening to Mr. Bob Gibson, the former political writer for the The Daily Progress and former executive director of the Sorensen Institute. It was a pleasure getting to listen to his thoughts and opinions on the current state of journalism and how it has been impacted by the age of technology and the “fake news” phenomenon. Everyone came away with new insight and an in depth narrative of the world of journalism.
Later in the afternoon, we watched the documentary “Across the Aisle” about the Sorensen Institute’s Political Leaders Program of Class of 2007. In this documentary, we learned about the how each class member dealt with political stereotypes and realized how far from the truth they can really be. We were able to see the growth among these individuals throughout their journey, and even see them use what they learned in real life scenarios.
Overall, this day was filled with the perfect mixture of work, fun, and education. As the night winds down, all the students are very happy to see that the proposals are almost near complete. Tonight, everyone went to bed earlier since we have a big day tomorrow at the Capitol in Richmond.