Marking the latest stop in her initiative to engage and educate students across the Merrimack Valley about the democratic process, Diana visited North Andover High School on Friday, November 15.
Held in the school’s auditorium, the program, which was organized by North Andover High graduate Nick Pangakis, covered the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government and, through interactive exercises, was designed to educate students about what it means to be a citizen and how to be involved in the democratic process. During the event, students had the opportunity to participate in mock legislative and judicial hearings, the latter conducted by Michael J. Ryan of the Office of Jury Commissioner for the Commonwealth.
“I was delighted to be among so many fantastic North Andover High students as I spoke about how ideas become laws and engaged the students in an interactive mock committee hearing,” said Diana, who has sponsored a bill to establish a comprehensive student civic education program. “I look forward to visiting more schools across the Merrimack Valley in the months to come to discuss how our government works.”
“Involving students as part of the presentation was a great way to keep people interested so that they could learn a thing about our government that they never knew before,” said student Joe Mosby.
“The presentation helped to establish a practical sense of what goes on at the state level of government, even though the federal government is more widely discussed,” said student Dillon MacInnis.
“I learned the difference between the federal and state branches, which is stuff I hadn’t learned before,” said student Brendan Hartford.
“Rep. DiZoglio and Mike Ryan did a great job of keeping the program interesting and entertaining,” said student Matt Varoutsos. “I really enjoyed it.”
“I thought the mock judiciary hearing was very helpful in seeing how trials work,” said student Emily Crabtree.
In many of today’s high schools, civic learning is often only offered toward the end of a student’s studies, in twelfth grade. On the most recent national civics assessment, administered in 2006 by the National Assessment Governing Board, two-thirds of students scored below “proficient.” In 2010, more than a quarter of college students reported they did not register to vote because they did not know where or how to do so.
“All too often, our classrooms lack a strong civic education program to inform students about what state government does in our daily lives,” said Diana. “It is important that youth begin to genuinely grasp these basic concepts to ensure they are able to actively participate and engage in the process as they are entering into adulthood.”
“It is critical for students to have an understanding of our judicial system early on, given they should be prepared to serve jury duty as soon as high school,” said Ryan.
In addition to North Andover High School, Diana has visited Methuen High School and Haverhill’s Hunking Middle School on her Merrimack Valley Civic Education Tour. The Representative plans to next take the tour to Lawrence.