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Capitol Kids

Row 1 (l-r): Lydia Cotton, Ann Carmichael, Russell Ott
Row 2 (l-r): Richard Stokes, Bryan Boroughs, Andrea Schenck, Brandon Gaffney
Not Pictured: Bill Young

Goal: Provide a diverse group of seventh-grade students with the opportunity to shadow their state representatives for a day at the State Capitol.

As a project of Furman's Riley Institute Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI), a group of eight community leaders is piloting Capitol Kids in the Lowcountry for the 2015-2016 academic year. A statewide program, the purpose of the DLI is to raise awareness of diversity issues, engage in meaningful dialogue, and develop relationships to help move South Carolina forward.

The vision is to inspire 7th grade students' interest in public affairs and state government through the opportunity to follow their state representative for a day at the State House. Each student will accompany his or her member to the floor, at meetings with constituents and advocacy groups, and at committee meetings occurring that day.

The pilot will include one student from eight schools. Each participating school will identify an appropriate student, provide transportation, and a chaperone for the student’s day. Capitol Kids will send a congratulatory letter to inform the student of their role and the schedule, connect each student with a legislator, manage the schedule at the statehouse, and provide lunch.

Day at the Statehouse: February 2, 2016

Ideal Student Candidate: Capitol Kids would like to involve students who are coping with unusual adversity – and who through their resilience show a promise of leadership and academic potential. The hope is that this experience will encourage and motivate the students as they proceed through middle and high school, and ultimately inspire some to become involved in government or pursue elected office.

Commitment Required by School:

  • Identify the participating student to participate, using the description above, by the end of 2015.
  • Provide transportation to the State House.
  • Provide a chaperone for the student.

Expectations of the Selected Students:

  • Prepare for the day, by being familiar with the role of the state legislator, as well as learning about their state representative and the legislator's committee(s).
    [Resource: Student Connection http://www.scstatehouse.gov/studentpage/index.shtml]
  • Send the representative a biographical statement including interests and what about state government that is of interests, so the legislator can learn about the student as well.
  • Dress appropriately for the day at the State House.
  • Write and send a thank you note to the representative for the experience.
  • Work with their teacher to develop a plan to report on the experience with their classmates.

Capitol Kids Schedule (tentative) for February 2:

  • 10 am – Students gather for informal conversation with other students and representatives.
  • 10:30 am – Students join their member on the House floor, as the body convenes. The Capitol Kids students will be introduced on the House floor.
  • 11 am – Students accompany representative through their schedule of meetings.
  • 12:30 pm – Lunch and photographs with members and students, and chaperones.
  • 1:30 pm – Students continue with their representative through the afternoon
  • 3 pm – Students and chaperones depart to return.