A capital idea: High schoolers tour Capitol

Published 12:08 pm Friday, April 12, 2024

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Learning went beyond the classroom for 50 Broncos when they recently explored the Capitol in  Richmond. 

A Franklin City Public Schools news release noted that the trip came about when Virginia Del. Nadarius E. Clark, of Suffolk, (D-84th) invited the Franklin High School students to visit on Feb. 28.

They were chaperoned by five adults: Sha-Keya Barnes, Diane Dovell and Candice Townsend, all FHS English teachers; Brandon Yanna, FHS math and science instructor; and Dr. Wayne Manley, lead administrator at J.P. King Jr. Middle School. Both Manley and Townsend also serve as coaches for the high school debate team. 

Townsend reported the group first toured the building that houses the Virginia General Assembly. Among the herd of Broncos were sophomores KeTrell Wilson, Kai’Mei-Tria Gilliam and Brooke Felts, and senior Summer Hill, who each spoke about their field trip.

“We liked all the tour,” said Hill, and Felts added, “All those paintings and sculptures … all that history.”

Next, the students and chaperones met their host and some of his colleagues who engaged them in a question-and-answer session. Clark stressed how important it is that the youth become involved in both their community and education. He added they can also be a voice in the decision-making process of state government, which will affect their future. 

The highlight of the experience was witnessing a live session on the House floor. Clark had the opportunity to recognize the visitors during that time. The students also saw how bills were introduced and voted on — yea or nay. That was something that Hill thought was “really cool.”

Gilliam said she was particularly impressed by the opportunity to witness that process. That included the pages; those are students who serve the delegates and senators when the assembly is in session.

Wilson said he really liked the speeches. “They spoke from the heart,” he added. 

“It wasn’t [just] a Power Point presentation,” Hill said. 

In her letter of appreciation to FCPS Superintendent Dr. Carlton Carter for making the trip possible, Townsend said, “The students were very appreciative of the opportunity to tour the state Capitol and were inspired by the words of Del. Clark and his colleagues.”