Reported by: Emma Desmond, Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School, and Bas Philipsen, Hampton Roads Academy
On the tenth day of the Sorensen Institute High School Leaders Program, heavy-eyed yet eager students convened in the lobby at exactly 8:29am. After a short walk over to Dell 2, Mr. Tom Walls taught us about the intricate and detailed philosophy of policy-making from 9 to 12 a.m. During that time, we discussed the four processes of legislative action, when a policy’s time has come, and how the simple concept of numbers can lead a perplexing conversation about marginalization, manipulation, and political motive. At lunch, we were given the choice between several different sandwiches from Panera. We also had the opportunity to ask Mr. Walls questions about any topic.
After lunch, our first speaker of the day was Brian Cannon from OneVirginia2021, an organization that advocates for redistricting reform. Cannon touched on the negative effects of gerrymandering and the process he and his organization are going through to pass legislation restricting gerrymandering. Our next speaker, Jacqueline Hixson, gave insight into campaign staff and their different roles. Ms. Hixon’s presentation included various examples of effective campaign media and showed the class some of her own print designs. The final speaker, George Chieffo, continued the discussion of the campaign process with some of his personal campaign experiences. He also engaged the class in a thought-provoking discussion about ethics in politics.
Once back at Bice, students went their own ways. Some went downtown, while others remained at the dorms where they enjoyed a delicious dinner of chicken and salmon along with various sides. After a long yet fulfilling day, students wound down and prepared for the next day, which is sure to bring new excitement and learning opportunities.