‘The House Will Be In Order ' Students at Caribou Community School Hold Mock Legislature, Discuss Real Bills

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 12:38 PM EDT
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CARIBOU, Maine (WAGM) -8th Graders at the Caribou Community School got to experience what it’s like to be a lawmaker on Monday. The students took part in a Mock Legislature. They wrapped it up by casting votes on two bills working their way through the 131st Legislature . Newssource 8′s Corey Bouchard was there and has more.

The House will be in order

The Cafeteria of the Caribou Community School was temporarily transformed into the House Chambers of the state house, as students serving as legislators were in session.

Joseph Burby, an 8th Grader at Caribou Community School says”It was really interesting we got to learn about how it was like if you were in augusta in the legislature and it was very interesting to be a chairman”

Burby served as a chairman for one of the committees that held a public hearing and work session, before voting to send the bills before them onto the full house floor. Heather Anderson, a Teacher at the School, got the idea after serving on a mock legislature herself.

Anderson Said " I had the opportunity to go down to augusta and be part of a mock legislature down at the state house as part of the County Teacher of the Year program in february and it was such a great experience and I had never had that much knowledge about how much I can make a difference as just a regular person who works in a school .i wanted our students to have that same experience and to really see that their words matter and that they can make a difference and it doesnt matter if they are 13, they can submit bills to their representatives, they can prepare testimony and send it to the state house and they can make that difference”

Another 8th Grader, Lorriah Hewitt says she never knew what all went into being a legislator.

" I learned that you dont just sit there and listen to the person talk you kinda interact with them a bit”

The Bills that made their way onto the floor were two very real bills in the 131st legislature, and they involved issues the kids were really passionate about

Burby Adds ”We worked on a bill that would extend recess and then we worked on a bill that would require lunch to be at least 30 minutes”

And just like in the real legislature, the students learned another important fact, not every bill that makes it out of committee ends up being passed

“Have you all now voted, the chair will close the vote, the clerk will run the total, the chair will announce the vote, 32 voted in the affirmative, 34 voted in the negative, the motion does not pass” Said Anderson, Serving as the Speaker of the House

After the legislative Session, the Students were joined by US Senator Susan Collins, who talked to students about what it is like to be a US Senator and answered their questions.

Senator Collins Says " I talked to them about how important it is for people to work together. too often we’ve lost that in washington nowadays, and the coutnry is very divided and polarized and i talked to these young people about respecting the views of someone who may think differently from you and searching together to find common ground”

All in All, the teachers agreed that the mock legislature was a success and they look forward to continuing it next year

Kim Barnes,, another 8th Grade Teacher at CCS adds " I think students were able to really apply all the skills we have been working on in our classroom all year long about how to work in a collaborative way and how to respond to how other people think and say”