Caribou Community School 8th Graders Hold Mock Legislature Day

Students Katelynn Thibodeau, Liz Robbins and Sadielee Violette pose with Senator Susan Collins

This article was written and submitted by Caribou Community School 8th graders, Elizabeth Robbins and Kaydence Hafford with the help of their teacher Heather Anderson.

(Pictured: Students Katelynn Thibodeau, Liz Robbins, and Sadielee Violette pose with Senator Susan Collins)

What could eighth-grade students from Caribou Community School learn during a Mock Legislator Day? On Monday, May 22nd, there were many things that these students learned about the legislative process and about Susan Collins.

At around 8:30 on Monday morning, eighth-grade students started their Mock Legislature Day. They began with a public hearing over their specific bill, either LD 156 or LD 1002, in their designated classrooms where mentors with experience in Maine’s legislative process guided them through the hearing. Mentors included David McCrea, former Representative from Fort Fairfield; Cary Olson-Cartwright from UNUM, and Dr. Holly Blair from the Maine Principals Association. Students wrote testimonies for, against, or neither for nor against and then read those testimonies aloud. Afterward, the students, assigned roles as Senators and Representatives, worked in committee during a work session, where they spoke about the bill. These select students voted on the bill and all of the eighth-grade students moved on to one of the biggest parts of the day, the House session.

During the House session, students traveled into the cafeteria where they debated the two different bills that they were assigned, LD 156 and LD 1002. Bill LD 156 was an act to require outdoor recess time for students from Grade 6 to Grade 8 for at least 20 minutes for no less than 3 days a week. LD 1002 was an act to require a lunch period of at least 30 minutes for
students and reduce food waste.

“The students were so engaged and had so much to say,” Heather Anderson said about the students during the House Session. “They realized how much of a voice they can have and how they can make the world a better place.” This is one of many things that these eighth-grade students learned during their Mock Legislature Day. Students learned even more
from Susan Collins’ speech later in the day.

At 1:30 in the afternoon, Susan Collins arrived in the cafeteria to speak to the entirety of the eighth graders. Susan Collins spoke about many things. She spoke about her time in Caribou, and what she would spend her time doing. She also spoke about her career and how she was elected to the U.S. Senate. Seth Dubay, one of the eighth-grade students who saw Susan Collins, stated, “ It takes a lot of dedication to do what Senator Collins does.” Susan Collins was also asked a few questions by a select group of students, one of these questions being what advice she would give someone going into the Legislature, which she answered in great depth by stating “I’m counting on your generation to help us get back to the way politics used to be. When people worked together for a common cause.”

Students learned an exponential amount from Senator Susan Collins, and not just about the legislative process. “I learned to respect people’s opinions,” says Xander Jamieson, another student from Caribou, “even if you don’t agree with them.”