More than 20 high school students from Our Redeemer’s Christian School in Minot attended the North Dakota legislative special session at the Capitol on Wed., Nov. 10. Many of the students who made the road trip are in Christine Fandrich’s government class.
“This is everything we’ve been talking about, so I thought it would be good for them to get involved and see what happens.” Christine Fandrich, ORCS teacher
“I teach government to seniors,” said Fandrich. “This is everything we’ve been talking about, so I thought it would be good for them to get involved and see what happens.”
The students toured the Capitol Complex, sat in on committee meetings, and also observed the full Senate and House chambers in session.
By sheer coincidence, the group filed into the Joint Technical Corrections Committee (JTCC) meeting just as the committee was considering a proposed amendment to Rep. Jim Kasper’s (R-Dis.46, Fargo) bill that would ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory in North Dakota public schools. In fact, as Rep. Scott Louser (R-Dis. 5, Minot) noted to the committee, the coincidence was even more astounding, because the amendment under consideration would have forced non-public schools to comply with the bill if it were passed into law. [That amendment ultimately failed, and the bill itself is still under consideration by the JTCC].
“We love the fact that any age, any citizen can come to a committee meeting,” Joceyln Sorum, ORCS teacher
Middle school history and science teacher Joceyln Sorum explained her excitement about the day. “We love the fact that any age, any citizen can come to a committee meeting,” she said. “That makes me so happy, so it was fun to have the kids come in and see how that works.”
What are the teachers and students hoping to accomplish with this visit? “Just understanding our government more and what happens and that they have a voice they can get involved and use,” Fandrich noted. “If they feel passionate about something, they have an opportunity to get involved and make a difference.”
Sixteen-year-old Aubrey Griedl says she was excited about “learning more about how our government, especially local government, works. I didn’t know there were so many bills that needed to be passed.”
“Seeing this has made me more confident and more excited to continue working toward maybe taking a position in local government someday.” Aubrey Griedl, ORCS student
Aubrey also says she thought this trip would spur her to get even more involved. “I always have taken an interest in politics, and I like to be involved,” she said. “Seeing this has made me more confident and more excited to continue working toward maybe taking a position in local government someday.”
Seventeen-year-old Rylan Vibeto expressed a similar interest. “I went to Boys State and Boys Nation, so I know what this is about, but it’s really nice to see it actually happening.” Rylan continued, “I definitely want to get more involved, having seen this stuff.”
Sorum said that, originally, only juniors and seniors were going to attend the session. But she explained further, “I have an 8th-grader from a politically active family, and she requested that we come, and I said, ‘You bet.’ We want that enthusiasm, we want the kids to know they’re part of the process and be strong, vital North Dakotans in every area.”