One of the things I was able to do last week is meet students from both Resurrection School and St. Philip Catholic School here at the Statehouse for the Quality Education Celebration. Students that came to represent their schools from around the state were given a tour throughout the building to see the different branches of government and learn more about public service. We were able to talk with students and answer any questions they had about being a legislator and working in our state capitol. The goal of this day was to highlight education in Indiana and other legislators, and I enjoyed joining students from our districts for a hands-on educational experience.
This week, I also joined fellow legislators and staff to meet with kindergarten and elementary school students to interact and read with them at the Shepard Community Center. This community center is dedicated to supporting impoverished children by providing a high-quality learning environment that will get their academic career off to the best possible start. Children living in poverty are more likely to be further behind than their peers when they begin their K-12 education. Showing support through one-on-one interaction is a great way to show these children our support for their education.
Reading is such an essential part of a student’s personal, academic and future growth as it lays the foundation for their life moving forward. While at Shepard Community Center I was able to work with a kindergartener, and we had fun reading “Clifford Goes to School.” I was truly grateful to be able to take part in this day and learn more about the different things schools are doing to encourage their students to take an interest in their education. A great school and education system can lift students, families and communities from socioeconomic challenges, and we all had a great time experiencing first hand all that this school was doing to work towards that goal.
Additionally, within the past week, the Indiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council ( ILYAC) hosted a meeting at the Statehouse. This council is a body of students from across Indiana that serve in an advisory capacity to us at the Indiana General Assembly and report on issues that are affecting young adults across our state. I have worked with them over the past few months and was given the opportunity to honor them during session on Tuesday.
One of their key roles is to communicate their recommendations and concerns on legislation to the General Assembly. It is our hope that these students walk away from their day at the Statehouse having a better understanding of the process and feeling more connected to the General Assembly. I feel passionate about getting our students involved in government early on, so that one day they feel comfortable to take on leadership roles themselves. As there is never a finish line in the work that we do, we will one day, much sooner than later, pass the baton of self-governance to the generation represented by these young individuals.
So far this session has been a busy one, not only working on legislation that will better our state, but working with children, students, citizens and other legislators. I will continue to keep you updated on legislation as we get closer to the final days of session.