Reported by: Andreas Borgh Potomac Falls High School and Pooja Tanjore, Rock Ridge High School
Earlier this morning we split up into policy groups for our final project. The premise of our culminating policy project is to pragmatically solve a local issue via bipartisanship. We have spent the last few nights drafting the thesis of our project, and finally got to discuss them in focus groups from 10AM to 12PM today. The policy groups focus on topics like public safety, economics, education, transportation, and environmental/energy. We were able to gain valuable insights through critique from our peers. After lunch, Jared Calfee, the Executive Director of Virginia 21 spoke to us about civic engagement and the importance of voting among young people. We learned that although the voter registration rate of college students is increasing, the number of college students that vote is still not enough. College students have the ability to sway elections, and we should be dispelling more energy on sticking with them from registration to election day. We spent our afternoon analyzing the Virginia Constitution through an amendment simulation. In small groups we attempted to find something in the Virginia constitution that we thought should be ratified. This, however, proved to be more difficult than we thought because four out of the five groups potential ratifications where shot down by the rest of the group. In small groups everyone seemed to agree, but during our final presentations the differing opinions indicated the faults in our solutions. Amendments are truly larger in scope than we perceive; they require much more consideration and thoughtfulness than anticipated. The class wrapped up with a Socratic seminar about local government and its structure. We wrapped up the night exactly how we expected it , facemask and buns, the men too!