The following contribution was submitted by Dorianne Thomas, a student at Morgan Park High School. Dorianne describes her very eventful trip to Springfield to meet with state legislators to share student ideas and concerns.
I absolutely enjoyed Springfield, and I'm not just saying that. I got a huge opportunity that doesn't come too often in life. I think that young voices were heard on the trip, and I hope that it made a difference in some of our State Reps' lives. Who gets to meet some of their State Representatives during their freshman year of high school?
The trip started at 5:30 a.m. Even though it was a little early for most of us, we still had a little buzz that kind of traveled around the teacher's parking lot as we waited for our bus to come pick us up and get the show on the road. We finally got to Springfield, IL about 10:30 am. and everyone was dressed in their casual attire and ready to have discussions with State Senator Emil Jones III, who is actually a graduate of Morgan Park High School, in the State Capitol Building. I think he was definitely on the same page as us as far as our thoughts were on immigration, environmental and educational issues.
What was really the ice breaker of the day was meeting State Representative Monique Davis. She was kind and very encouraging when it came to answering questions. She was really concerned about our life plans. She asked about our goals and future careers that we were thinking about. I think it really showed that she is very interested in our futures. . She was very open with us about her thoughts about the CPS Board of Education and what her expectations and ideas were on improving the education in Chicago Public Schools, so we can do just as well as the charter schools in the Chicago area. She was on board with uniforms but not on board with longer school days, which got everyone's attention and was probably the best discussion to conclude our visit.
When we got back on the bus, the only chatter heard for the most part was about the answers heard from the state Reps and commenting on certain questions asked. It turned out to be a great trip that I would love to do again.