Eighth Graders Visit the Capitol to Speak About Mental Health

On March 22, four MCPS eighth graders participated in Speak Up for Kids Health Advocacy Day at the state capitol. The students participated as an extension of a Community Arts class called “Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning.” At the event, they first learned about some health-related bills that were being considered (SB 68 in particular which hopes to increase counselor availability in elementary schools), then they were taught how to speak to their elected officials. After some practice, students walked to the capitol and had impromptu meetings with legislators where they spoke about the importance of mental health for middle school students. They met with Representative Danielson, Representative Winter, Representative Kennedy, Representative Michaelson-Janet, Representative Kraft-Tharp, and Senator Zenzinger. The students were also invited to the floor of the House of Representatives.

All of the participants were surprised at how accessible their elected officials were, and how willing they were to meet with students. This opportunity brought to life what students learned in the classroom and allowed them to play an active role in creating positive change.

– Written by Heather Kennedy