November is the month where we all line up at a local polling station to vote on issues and for people, we don’t know nearly enough about. We look at the multiple choices of people running for district or state senator and pick the one with the nicest name or someone who our friend recommended. It seems as if the government is in another world, something that we only interact with when it’s time to vote on something and even then, our interaction is limited.
Five years ago I prayed for snow, enough snow to close the roads and prevent my parents from driving me to Jefferson City for a political workshop- Teenpact. It did snow too, leaving me with a whole year to celebrate before I had to come to terms with the fact that I would be leaving for Jefferson City unless it snowed again. At the end of February 2016, it didn’t snow, and my father took a very unenthused me, along with two of my siblings, to attend Teenpact.
Although at first I was unhappy about the whole thing and I hated the public speaking and the homework beforehand, by the end of the week I had experienced a slight change of heart. For the past two years, I’ve enjoyed the weeks leading up to Teenpact and the week of Teenpact itself. The days are rigorous, and I think I walk an average of ten miles a day while there but the week is also rewarding.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and talking with my districts representative and our senator. I’ve met lobbyists and watched them work. Last year I listened to our previous Attorney General, Josh Hawley, give a talk concerning Missouri’s affairs. While Teenpact has given me the opportunity to become more confident in myself, it has also given me the opportunity to become more familiar with the political process of things.
I’ve now graduated high school, and this will be my last year attending Teenpact. I’m no longer attending as a first-time student, who doesn’t know much about anything. I’m now an alumnus, returning for the fourth year. I anticipate the challenge of the class these days. I’ve seen fellow students become staffers and now know what to expect when we have a faux legislature.
Four years seems like an awfully long time but in reality it has only been an accumulation of four weeks. Here’s to the last year of Teenpact.