Delegates joined the superintendent and principal of Hood Canal School District, Mr. Shawn Batstone in Shelton, Washington. We were able to share our experiences, answer questions, ask questions, and learn more about the civic engagement opportunities available in the Hood Canal School. Mr. Batstone let us know that, “In order to get students civically engaged we need to educate them on what it is. It’s about standing up for what you believe [in].” Following up with, “Civic engagement is mostly book oriented, instead of action oriented. It should be about proposing and making changes in our communities.” Pam Kentner, a representative from the Washington State Legislature from Representative Drew MacEwen’s office, was also present during this visit to the Hood Canal School.
We believe that we should get the opportunity to get civically engaged starting at a young age. We believe schools should have more civics classes so we can grow up to become civic leaders in our communities. We need to gain understanding of government, how to engage with elected officials, how to vote for elected officials and measures, and how to change laws that impact our daily lives. Civics courses combine community service with learning. We need to learn about how to serve our communities and what it means to have an opinion and voice it. Civics courses prepare us and make us knowledgeable when we vote and when we need to stand up for change.
During our five week ‘Vote, To Us You Matter!’ Pilgrimage, we have been exploring what can we do to get people to be civically engaged. Through this pilgrimage we aim to strengthen our understanding on how to increase civic learning in school and in the community.