Upper School and Grade 8 Girls Become Senators for the Day
The Edward M. Kennedy Institute is home to a full-scale replica of the United States Senate Chamber, allowing each student to become a senator for the day and work to pass a law.
The girls were welcomed into the Senate Chamber and each sat in front of a tablet that revealed which state and political party she would represent along with a brief biography of the senator whose persona she would take on. As they tried to pass the 2013 Immigration Reform Bill, the girls used the political beliefs of their assigned senator, not their own.
After being sworn in, the girls were divided into subcommittees where they asked expert witnesses questions to help them decide what provisions to include in their immigration bill. Next they met with members from their party to choose amendments to propose to the bill and talk about how to stop the opposing amendments from being accepted. Once the groups selected their amendments, it was time for debate. In the debate, the Democrat and Republican committees explained why their amendments were best. Everyone then reconvened as a full Senate in order to vote on the bill and the proposed amendments.
C. Capeci ’19 filibustered one of the amendments and was successful in getting an amendment removed from the bill. Y. Aweke ’23, I. Farrell ’19, E. Nero ’23, and C. Stoddard ’19 gave speeches in front of the Senate. Farrell’s speech was for a Democratic amendment to the bill that Aweke tried to persuade her fellow Senators to reject. The amendment passed. Stoddard was for a Republican amendment of which Nero was opposed. This amendment also passed.
“This was a wonderful field trip,” said AP US Government Teacher Dr. Laura Baines-Walsh. “It gave the girls the opportunity to debate an important current issue and to see how the legislative process works.”