RENEE STIEVE, staffer for Discovering Democracy IV shares her REFLECTIONS
RENEE STIEVE, staffer for Discovering Democracy IV shares her REFLECTIONS.
I am again happy to post the REFLECTION STATEMENT of a staffer who traveled to Washington, DC with the 4th annual Milton High School Discovering Democracy field study. This sharing is written by RENEE STIEVE, Psychology Teacher at Milton High School. Another REFLECTION on the Field Study experience.
“’Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’ This statement from Margaret Mead—almost 30 years ago—still holds true today. For the past seven years I’ve endeavored to show my students the power they can possess by being active, engaged young adults in our democratic society. No matter how many lessons, activities or stories I tell, nothing can hold up to the power of a firsthand experience. And through the Civics curriculum at Milton High School, seniors have the opportunity to tour our state capitol and meet with state lawmakers, court justices and other public officials.
“Six years ago Milton seniors were given another opportunity, in addition to the required Civics course, when Val Crofts created the Advanced Placement–Government course. Having worked with Val over the years, I knew he had big plans for his AP–Government course, and soon after it was created he hatched the idea of a field study for these students. And it was a great idea. I’ve seen just how much students gain from a simple 37 mile trip to our state capitol; imagine what they could learn from an 800 mile trip to Washington, D.C.
“I’ve had the privilege of joining two of the last four Discovering Democracy field study programs to D.C. It’s been said by others, but when the bus leaves the school these 12th graders depart as typical high school students and return as more polished young adults. Through this experience Milton’s AP–Government students are able to meet national leaders, conquer a large city, set appointments with experts in various fields and, most importantly, get engaged in the day-to-day grind or our democratic process. Seeing the students develop a connection to our government through their research is inspiring. With these students, and others like them, our future is indeed in good hands.
“Val has been recognized for his efforts with the Discovering Democracy program, and the recognition is well deserved. The amount of professionalism he instills in our youth is evident, as we regularly receive positive feedback about the students as we travel across D.C. The students hear these positive comments, too, as they’re often mistaken for college students working on a senior thesis by the people we encounter.
“I encourage everyone to take a more active role in our democratic process—let these young adults be an inspiration to you. I, along with the rest of the Discovering Democracy staff, invite you to join us for an exhibition of the student projects on May 30 starting at 7 p.m. at Milton High School Library. Come see the fruits of these truly amazing students’ efforts. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’”
Again, I want to URGE YOU to come to the Discovering Democracy RESEARCH FAIR on Thursday, May 30 from 7 – 9 pm in the Library at Milton High School. YOU can choose which significant public issues you want to learn about and/or select which students you wish to dialog with. I KNOW I am looking forward with anticipation to Discovering Democracy IV’s RESEARCH FAIR! See you there?!
Here we go…
John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor of political science at UW-Whitewater and an advocate for Project Citizen, a model curriculum for democracy/civics education in Wisconsin high schools. John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.