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SURGE of HOPE for the future of our republics (USA & WI) from Discovering Democracy Research Fair.

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John Eyster
May 31, 2013

SURGE of HOPE for the future of our republics (USA & WI) from Discovering Democracy Research Fair.

Did YOU experience the electrifying environment of the DISCOVERING DEMOCRACY Research Fair at Milton High School last night? If so, how about YOUR comment? IF NOT, let me share with you my comment.

Walking into the Milton High School Library was just like entering a major public policy issue conference with experts gathered to provide data and perspective to enrich dialog on very significant public policy issues. IMMEDIATELY I was aware of the intensity of the dialog going on throughout the library.

I first saw STAN MILAM, who was there on assignment from our Senator Cullen responding to an invitation that Discovering Democracy Founder/Director VAL CROFTS had sent to our reps both state and national. STAN as most of you know has long been involved with Janesville’s WASHINGTON SEMINAR, so he knows the field study format for healthy democracy/civics education. He was already ENGAGED enthusiastically dialoging with DD students. I talked with STAN later and he was praising the DD students for their research and their preparedness to articulate their stances on the issues they researched.

I dove into the opportunity to engage the DD students on their issues. Having been in Washington, DC with this year’s DD group, I was aware of the various issues researched and benefitted from conversations with many of the DD students while we were there on field study. I knew about some of the very special experiences which DD IV students had on field study.

One of the most telling experiences was that afforded to BRANDON BENSON and EMILIE SHEW who were researching the STEM CELL issue. They were invited to put on the sterile uniform required to go into the research lab to see results of stem cell research. In the lab, they saw a BEATING HEART resultant from stem cells. They both reported being TOTALLY THRILLED! Each of the students, I talked with them separately, advocates full federal funding for ALL STEM CELL RESEARCH. They assert that humankind needs to take full advantage of the benefits of stem cell research. What is YOUR comment? Do YOU wish YOU had been able to dialog with Brandon and

I moved from one student to another with opportunity to learn her/his stance on the issue s/he researched. We dialogued briefly. I always asked the student where s/he would be going to college next fall. WOW! These outstanding students are going here and there and everywhere from UW-Madison to UW-Stevens Point to Beloit College to MIT to Arizona State University and elsewhere. NOW, each and every one is preparing for HIGH SCHOOL graduation coming on Sunday, June 8 at Milton High School. With 42 students and only 2 hours for the fair, I was not able to talk with each and every one of the DD IV students last night. FRUSTRATING!

Some of you read the STUDENT OPINION STATEMENTS which DD IV students wrote for me to post on my WE THE PEOPLE blog. I can assure you that those students and many of their colleagues read your comments with interest. I want to remind you of the four (4) STUDENT OPINION STATEMENTS posted on the blog - YOU can use the links provided if you want to read one or more of them:

Sara Steed's "UNIONS are very important for the work force. Discovering Democracy Research Fair tonight!"

Allison Bender's "Now is the time to improve living conditions for Native Americans."

Bonnie Wilson's "Should the US government INCREASE SPENDING on the arts?"

Brittany Brookhiser's "What should be the role of women in the US military?"

There is no question whatsoever in my mind that VAL CROFTS has developed a very effective and meaningful democracy/civics education program with his Discovering Democracy field study complementing his Advanced Placement US Government & Politics course at Milton High School. I know he has the enthusiastic support of Milton HS principal, JEREMY BILHORN with whom I talked at the fair last night.

The Discovering Democracy field study program has been benefitted from having enthusiastic and committed staffers. JOHN HOLT, Associate Director, has been involved since the FIRST field study in 2010. Since then DAN MAYER and RENEE STIEVE, Milton HS along with JENNIFER WILLIAMS, Office Secretary, Milton HS were all three were involved for the 2nd year on field study staff. Police Liaison Officer JIM MARTIN was a staffer on field study for the first time this year.

This year’s DD group was the largest with 42 students. The projection for DD V is just over 30 students. Students are required to take AP US Government & Politics is required course to prepare students for the Discovering Democracy field study.

YOU will gain wonderful awareness of the DD IV FIELD STUDY in Washington, DC by watching the video created by RENEE STIEVE, Milton HS teacher who was a staffer on DD IV again this year. You can use this link to watch this YouTube video, "DDIV". What do YOU think after watching this DDIV video?

My experience with the Discovering Democracy IV students this year has given my AUDACITY of HOPE for the FUTURE of our republics (USA & WI) a tsunami-like SURGE! These young adults are the FUTURE LEADERS. I KNOW from experience that OUR FUTURE in the GOOD HANDS of Discovering Democracy and WASHINGTON SEMINAR alumni is VERY HOPEFUL & PROMISING! What do YOU think?

I urge that we continue to encourage and support such relevant and effective democracy/civics education opportunities for our high school citizens! What do YOU think?

Here we go…

Mr. E.



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