Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)
Members of Prince William County’s Human Rights Student Leadership Council (HRSLC) traveled to Richmond to meet their legislators. The highlights of the trip included the students being announced from the delegate and state floors.
The trip started with a 5:00 a. m. bus ride to the Pocohantas Building in Richmond, where students saw state senators and delegates at work. Denise McPhail, Prince William County staff advisor to the HRSLC, coordinated the visit.
“I was enthusiastic about this event for our students. It was an opportunity to support the social studies curriculum,” she said. “These students witnessed some of the processes of governance and law. Meeting their own representatives and legislators makes it more real and personal.”
Colgan High School junior and secretary of the Prince William County’s Student Leadership Council, Robert Moser, was inspired by the event.
“We saw them up close as regular people, working regular jobs. It makes you realize that your senators and delegates are citizens too. They are members of the community,” Moser said. “They were all very friendly and I had a good time. It really was totally an enriching experience.”
Nicholas Nohe, also a junior at Colgan High School and member of HRSLC, said, “The Student Leadership Council has helped me increase my understanding of government. It has helped me realize how the government affects our local lives and its relationship to our school system.” Nohe also expressed how being a member of HRSLC has helped with his public speaking skills.
Hylton High School sophomore Jaqueline Mitchell added, “Going on the trip to Richmond taught me a lot about the Virginia government. I didn’t know about the Supreme Court with the justice system down there!” She enjoyed observing the law-making process and was surprised by how much time and work goes into creating laws. The HRSLC has helped Mitchell become better at sharing her ideas and being more confident.
“Celebrate diversity – no place for hate”
HRSLC’s theme this year is ‘Celebrate diversity – no place for hate.’ The campaign is providing lessons on how diversity encourages learning from different people who have had different experiences.
Sophomores, juniors, and seniors enrolled in Prince William County public, private, and home schools are eligible to apply for the council. The Council offers students the chance to meet elected government officials and county staff to learn about government through the lens of human rights enforcement.