A lesson in the legislative process for students at the Capitol

Submitted By:  Veronica Bade, GOAL High School Student & Journalism Intern 

GOAL High School students and staff had quite the adventure recently, taking an overnight field trip to our state’s capitol. The trip is part of the “The GOAL Ventures” experiential learning program which includes trips in and out of the state Colorado.  Thirty-two students and fifteen staff made the journey to explore the exciting world of government. They had a packed schedule with activities varying from working out their gaming skills at Dave and Busters, to shaking hands with members of the senate.  

Students started out at the Capitol by meeting with a few representatives. They were able to ask questions and learn more about the representatives as human beings.  One student reflected that, “These are actual people who want to go ahead and help our country and make it better…. Not just another person trying to dictate how my life is going…”  The students then split up and went into the senate and the house where they witnessed entertaining sessions and got to watch them pass some bills.  

Next, students headed up to the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center where they went on a tour of the court of appeals and the supreme court, also visiting and exploring the judicial learning center.  Jacob Doyle, of Parachute, Colorado, who also served a year as a journalism intern at GOAL, “realized that it was actually a lot harder to be a judge than [he] thought it would [be] because of the nature of the cases.”  One example he mentioned was an individual who held up a grocery store at knife point to feed his hungry family. How would you rule in this case? 

Soon it was off to the vans to head home. Students from all over the state, who days earlier, were strangers, departed as closely bonded friends.  This was an incredible experience for these students. It helped to show them how their state runs and the people who run it, but most importantly as one student stated, “I’m learning a lot more about the legislators themselves and how they’re actual people, and not just somebody that’s just there for the camera.” It opened their minds to future job opportunities and helped to encourage them to be active members of their community. 

 “Hopefully, we are inspiring some of our GOAL leaders to step up and serve in their community and [eventually]… be advocates for what they believe in,” stated Denver Region GOAL Principal Dr. Derek Staves. Chief Executive Officer Constance Jones, who also attended the trip, was most impressed with how focused the students were and the quality of their questions.  In the end, everyone had a thrilling experience that was, as student Eden Connor, from Craig, put it, “Ten out of ten. Would [definitely] recommend.”  

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