HSLP 2011: Day 4-Tuesday, July 12

Jul 12 2011 - 9:30pm

High School Leaders Program
Day 4- Tuesday, July 12
Reported by: Mim Blower, Bishop Ireton High School; Hanan Hameed, Charlottesville High School; QueVonte Thomas, Open High School

Robertson Hall greeted us today with a group project about the political history of Virginia. This history lesson started with the Byrd Machine, progressed to the first Republican governor in the 21st century, continued through to the swing counties in the Allen-Warner elections, and finished up with Virginia turning Blue for Obama in 2008. Each team creatively presented their timeline through skits, political cartoons and yes, even a rap by one courageous student. This presentation doubled as a contest, but we will not discover the winner until Thursday (which prompted a consensus within the student body that this was cruel and unusual punishment).

After this discussion, we reviewed the impacts of political events in the 21st century. The conservative Democrats split from the Democratic Party to create the Republican Party in Virginia. The switch from rural campaigning to urban campaigning ultimately changed the voting demographic for candidates on both sides. Both of these changes proved to be vital in the elections of the 1960's.

This discussion came to an end with lunch. Unfortunatlely, one of the speakers was sick and unable to come. Fortunately a riveting video about the Sorensen qualities and expectations rescued us from an hour of boredom. After the video, Sen. Creigh Deeds spoke to us about the importance of determination in politics, which is most often crowded with hurdles that need to be jumped.

Next was a presentation by Brittany Tyler, a recent graduate from Longwood University, about Virginia21. This non-profit, bipartisan organization helps college students have a voice in the General Assembly, and has been very successful in its short life (since 2002). Many of the students found her speech to be interesting and helpful in deciding what they might want to be a part of when they reach college.

We ended the day with posing for our class pictures. Although it was hot and humid, the pictures of this very promising group of young leaders turned out beautifully. It was the end to another profitable day at the Sorensen Institute's High School Leaders Program.