Diana recently visited Lawrence’s Wetherbee School as the latest stop on her Civic Education Tour to engage and educate students across the Merrimack Valley.
The program, which Diana has brought to other schools in Lawrence, as well as North Andover, Methuen and Haverhill, explained the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government and, through interactive exercises, educated students about how to participate in our democratic process and what it means to be a citizen.
During the event, students participated in mock legislative and judicial hearings, the latter conducted by Michael J. Ryan of the Office of Jury Commissioner for the Commonwealth.
“The experience the Representative provided for our students was enlightening,” said Colleen Lennon, principal at Wetherbee. “They were truly engaged and now understand the importance of their voice and their vote.”
“Students need to know the adults in our community care about them and are truly invested in their education,” said Lisa Scott, an eighth grade ELA teacher at Wetherbee. “The Representative’s presence and willingness to share about the importance of civic education accomplished just that.”
“I want to be a lawyer when I grow up and listening to Representative DiZoglio was helpful because she is young and a woman I can connect with,” said student June Zhang.
“I learned that you can make people listen to you by getting involved and voting,” said student Jerry Pimentel.
“Representative DiZoglio made learning about government so much more simple and less complicated,” said student Kiahvette Guzman.
“I learned that at the age of 18 you can get a letter to serve on a jury,” said student Pedro Hernandez.
“In speaking with the amazing students at Wetherbee, I saw before me our next generation of leaders,” said Diana, who has sponsored legislation to establish a comprehensive student civic education program. “It is so critical to empower our youth with the knowledge of how and why to vote and my hope is this tour will help them to grasp civic involvement early on so they may actively participate in the democratic process as they reach adulthood.”
In many of today’s high schools, civic education courses are only offered toward the end of a student’s studies. On the most recent national civics assessment, conducted 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 how to do so.
“Our classrooms are all too often lacking a robust civic learning curriculum to teach students about what government does in our daily lives,” said Diana. “While this school year is nearing its end, I look forward to visiting additional schools in Lawrence and across the Merrimack Valley in the fall to continue educating our amazing students on how government works.”
“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 the Wetherbee, Diana has visited North Andover High School, Methuen High School, Lawrence High School, Haverhill’s Hunking Middle School and Lawrence’s South East Middle School on her Civic Education Tour.