Eagle Ridge Academy Juniors Participate in Charter School Day at the Capitol
Last Wednesday, March 6, Eagle Ridge Academy juniors Taran Panduranga, Dorie Bixby, Gabriela Olsen, and Julia Sheehan met with Minnesota state legislators, including State Representative Steve Elkins and State Senator Melisa Franzen, as part of Charter School Day at the Capitol.
Charter School Day at the Capitol is an annual event coordinated by the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools to promote visibility and connection between charter school students, teachers, and administrators and Minnesota legislators.
“My favorite part was how enthusiastic Senator Franzen was,” shared Taran. The students, who attended the day’s meetings along with 11th Grade Humanities teacher Jane Wegener Venema and Executive Director Jason Ulbrich, were impressed by the lawmakers’ questions and the quality of discussion they shared.
“Meeting with representatives and senators is so much more personal than what you read in the news or see on TV,” said Gabriela. “They are real people, and when meeting in person, you can build a real relationship that feels different from just emailing or calling them about a cause.”
“We spoke about what we like about charter schools and about Eagle Ridge Academy, specifically—the small class sizes, the personal atmosphere, and the Classical curriculum like our humanities courses,” said Dorie.
While at the capitol, students also had the opportunity to enjoy the building’s architecture and underground tunnels. While exploring the building, they were able to visit and sit in the Senate chamber. “The visit made it seem so much more real and possible to go into politics,” shared Julia, who mentioned an interest in pursuing government as a career path.
The juniors ended their meetings by inviting the state representative and senator to visit Eagle Ridge Academy. State Senator Steve Cwodzinski has already visited Eagle Ridge Academy, spending a morning touring classrooms and meeting with students earlier last month.
PHOTO: Students pose with Ms. Wegener Venema and Mr. Ulbrich in the Minnesota Senate chambers.
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