The week leading up to winter break, the Shorewood High School Auditorium was buzzing with lots of excitement and a few nerves. Mr. Perez, Shorewood High School Social Studies teacher, hosted the first civics In-School field trip. Over the span of two days, the civics students had the opportunity to debate and vote on the legislation they spent all semester researching and preparing. Some of the topics up for debate were palm oil restrictions, more proportional taxes, veterans healthcare, equal pay in women’s sports, and abortion rights restored to Roe.
Mr. Perez was able to secure a few special guest speakers each day. Ann McKaig, Shorewood Village President, gave the opening remarks and answered questions from students about her role as the Village President. To close out the field trip, former Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor, Mandela Barnes, delivered closing remarks for the session. Barnes, who was inspired to get involved with politics after listening to President Obama’s 2004 speech, talked to the students about his experience campaigning for the senate and how their generation is the ‘change making’ generation. He left them with a few words of wisdom, “Don’t let the prospect of not winning keep you from chasing your dream.”
The greatest aspect of this event was watching these change makers step up to the task and go beyond what was expected of them. “The most rewarding aspect of this entire experience is seeing the students essentially run the entire thing themselves,” said Perez. Like anything else you do for the first time, there were bumps in the road, but the students did a spectacular job orchestrating this event. “In order to overcome our biggest struggles, I relied heavily on communicating and delegating tasks to my Rules Committee: Speaker Nathan Berkowitz, Majority Leader Andrew Sibila, Minority Leader Paxton Adams, Aiko Levick, Allie Buettner, Zaid Hussein, and Enzo Litz,” stated Perez.
One of the greatest points of growth that was witnessed over the course of the semester was how students talked amongst each other, especially during classroom debates. The students communicated with one another with more respect, were able to discuss different ideas, opinions, solutions, while being able to disagree respectfully.
“Overall, I just really want to thank everyone, especially my administration, and fellow teachers for their continued support!” exclaimed Perez.