LANSING – State Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) invited a class from Marquette Senior High School onto the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday afternoon during their visit to the Capitol for a statewide civic competition. Citizens are only allowed on the floor when accompanied by a legislator.
Having worked as the director of adult and community education at Marquette Area Public Schools for the last 10 years, Cambensy said she missed working with students. She addressed the students while on the floor about her experiences in the Legislature, answered questions and wished them well in their competition.
“I’m proud of our Marquette Senior High School students coming all the way down from Marquette to compete in a statewide government competition,” Cambensy said. “I have no doubt our hardworking students from the Upper Peninsula will hold their own with every district from around the state. I was proud to cheer them on and tell them to go forward with confidence at the competition.”
The advanced placement government class, taught by Fred Cole, is competing today in the “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” program, developed and directed by the Michigan Center for Civic Education. Cole said the students are divided in groups and have prepared answers to numerous questions about the U.S. Constitution. They will go before a panel of retired judges and legislative staff in a mock public hearing format.
“This is probably the best educational experience I do with students,” Cole said. “They learn so much about the history and the principles of the Constitution, and they apply it to current events and real life. They learn skills of research, writing and public speaking, as they have to present to adults. I just wish more schools took part in it. I’ve been teaching for 27 years, and the last 14 I’ve been doing this. Every year, it’s a highlight of the year for me and for the students.”
Rachel Mellin, a senior at MSHS said: “I’m pretty excited to be here. I’ve never been to the Capitol before, so that’s amazing, and it’ll be really great to go against other teams and just kind of compare knowledge and maybe learn some new stuff.”