Civics lesson in political participation
Students in Joseph Janssens’s social studies class at Waupaca High School learned one way to become involved in the political process is to write to their elected officials.
“This is a great time to teach civics and government as the nation chooses our presidential nominees,” Janssen said. “There are many topics that interest our young citizens, including abortion and the minimum wage. Another way to get involved beyond voting is writing to our elected officials regarding an issue of interest.”
The students chose their topics and the officials who would receive their letters.
Topics regarding gun control, water pollution, abortion, environmental protection, gay marriage, as well as others, were of interest to the freshmen in the class, none of whom are of voting age.
Letters were sent to Gov. Scott Walker, state Sen. Luther Olsen, state Rep. Kevin Peterson, U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin.
“Developing interest and awareness of our political process early on often leads to lifelong participation,” Jannsen said.
All 25 students wrote at least one letter, but only half received a response.
Those students who received a letter back from these officials brought their letters to show in class.
“The letters of concern written by our students may not have changed the minds of our state and national officials, but these young adults made their views known, and many will continue to make their voices heard now that they have some experience with participating in our democracy,” Janssen said.