Dozens of high school students spent the day on the campus of SIUC taking a deep dive into the processes of governance and law-making on April 8th. The event was part of State Senator Paul Schimpf’s (R-Waterloo) Youth Advisory Council.
“The idea is to encourage some of our outstanding high school students to consider a career in public service,” said Senator Schimpf. “Whether it’s local government, whether it’s elected office, whether it’s just giving back to society, I think it’s important that kids understand that they have a duty and an opportunity to serve.”
Schimpf’s Youth Advisory Council invited students from high schools across the 58th Senate District to come together in Carbondale for the day. Students heard from local leaders, government officials, as well as a retired Navy Vice Admiral (Nancy Brown).
“I thought it was a great opportunity to find something that I’m more interested in,” said Webber Township High School student Ciara Taylor, who noted that she believes she will be watching the news more closely now. “Now that I’ve been here and seen and actually heard, I really do care because it pertains to me.”
“I think doing stuff like this is a way for us to serve, I do think that this is really good for everyone that is involved,” said Carbondale Community High School student John Patton, who hopes the event will help him in his future career. “I definitely would like to be involved politically.”
During the afternoon, students broke up into random groups to work together on crafting ideas for new legislation. The ideas covered everything from education funding proposals to creating a tax on plastic shopping bags. In the end, they voted for a plan to undue the recent changes to the minimum wage.
“This is an opportunity to engage students in government and let them try their hand at proposing new laws,” said Schimpf. “This not only gives our next generation of leaders a head-start on serving the public, but it allows me to hear directly from them on issues they find important.”