Path to Politics

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Path to Politics

Yulissa Perez, Reporter

Ms. Bernadette Ryan’s path to becoming a social studies teacher began with a trip in high school. During a visit to Washington DC, she learned how she plays a big role in the making of America, how her voice is, in fact, heard by those who represent us. Now she’s determined to give Leyden students that same experience.

Ms. Ryan had the opportunity to learn how important she was to the United States by going on the Washington D.C. trip herself and learning about our approachable center of government. Ms Ryan elaborated on her experience saying that the reason she really wanted to push this trip is because, “…it was such an awesome experience that it led me to eventually become a social studies teacher [because it built my] interest in government and politics and history.”

Recognizing  the political divide in America, Ms. Ryan explained how she wants students to go for themselves and see that our center of government is not barred off or closed up to the average citizen. She said, “I don’t know why there is this fear [to participate] but part of the program is to break that fear down, break that wall down, to let students recognize that this is your government. You should be able to approach the leaders and your representatives.” With this trip, she hopes to open up the doors for students to speak out to their government.

The trip, planned for Spring Break, includes a whole week packed with experiences and opportunities. It includes small educational workshops that cover immigration, national security, political debates, etc. The students will also experience the tourist side of the capitol by going to an Embassy, The Pentagon, and Capitol Hill. To top it all off, on their last day, the students are honored with a small ceremony and dance to celebrate their experiences.

Ms. Ryan explained there is a little work that comes in before the trip in the form of a book called Current Events, which is updated every year to inform students of the action happening in America. The book will be provided if there are enough students that are completely 100% committed to the trip. She explained that the organizers are “very stringent about [letting schools/students preview materials]. It’s very expensive. They will only sell them in groups of 20, and it’s a thousand dollars per group, so it’s like a $50 dollar investment per kid, but if we do get enough students to sign up [for the travel] the department will pay for the books.”

This is the second year Ms. Ryan is trying to launch this program. The trip was supposed to take place last year but not enough students signed up. Ms. Ryan hopes the trip will have enough students for take-off this year.

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