Reported by: Yasmin Bakhit, Thomas A. Edison High School and Matthew Thompson, Mathematics and Science High School at Clover Hill High School
The fourth day of Sorensen included our first group collaboration. The class was taught by Marc Johnson. Once we arrived in class, we were broken up into groups based on our previous night’s readings. Each set of readings explained state politics throughout specific time periods. Armed with this new knowledge, we were able to successfully craft a landscape of Virginia Politics throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries. We also addressed the general theme of each period and compared it to today.
After a hearty lunch, we listened to a variety of speakers. The first, Mr. Ken Heath, focused on the development of Marion and southwest Virginia. He was introduced by student Andreas Borgh. Afterward, Maria Ciarrochi and Eric Johnson were introduced by Fyzah Islam and Jack Holt. They each brought their own perceptions in working with the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and its relationships with the city itself. Later, Bob Gibson, introduced by Knaide Green, gave his nuanced and well-researched perspectives on many controversial issues. The discussion was especially involved with constant input and questions from students. Lastly, Kishore Thota, introduced by Carson Martin and Max Clegg, gave ten tips to be a successful leader. Due to his relatively young age, he catered his ideas to our age group, allowing us to create a humorous and beneficial rapport.
Today was a day of firsts. The first time we had multiple speakers. The first time we broke up into groups to draft a project. And the first time we truly took advantage of this opportunity to make connections with the other participants. It was a day filled with new knowledge that allowed us to formulate a more view of the Virginia political system.