- Loudoun County Public Schools
Virginia Legislators head ‘Back to School’
It’s not every day that a Virginia Delegate gets to walk the halls of a Loudoun County school building. During the Virginia School Boards Association’s (VSBA) “Take Your Legislator to School Month” activation in November, hundreds of LCPS students were granted the opportunity to ask the hard-hitting questions of some local elected officials.
Each year, the Virginia School Boards Association recognizes the month of November as “Take Your Legislator to School” month. This annual celebration serves as an opportunity to build stronger relationships between schools and legislators.
Legislators were given the opportunity to see the great things that LCPS students do during the school day, while the students got the chance to meet a couple of individuals who represent them in state government.
Virginia Delegate Suhas Subramanyam took on the chance to visit two schools in his district, Creighton’s Corner Elementary and J. Michael Lunsford Middle School.
At Creighton’s Corner, Delegate Subramanyam, a resident of Sterling, VA, was greeted by student leaders from the “Little Lights” program and was given a tour of “The Corner.” Along the way, the Delegate made several stops including sitting in on a fourth grade “morning meeting,” story time with a Kindergarten class and a special interview in the school library with the “Little Lights.”
As the day progressed, a common theme emerged around the Delegate’s conversations with students: Leadership. “It’s one thing to just look around at other people and think that maybe they’re doing the right thing, but if you see that they’re doing the wrong thing, and you do the right thing instead, a lot of people will follow you, because you will be setting a good example for other people,” said the Delegate during his visit with fourth grade students.
During his second and final stop, Delegate Subramanyam visited with eighth grade Civics students at J. Michael Lunsford Middle School and joined in on their conversations about the legislative process. Topics ranged from campaign fundraising to pieces of legislation that he has helped pass in the Virginia House of Delegates.
The Delegate ended his conversations at Lunsford discussing his own educational journey and how to overcome struggles students may be facing. “When I went to college, I started realizing how important it is to get good grades and how important it is to show up to class. Even the stuff that you may not be as passionate about, it’s still important to be good at. It’s never too late to turn things around. If you see that you’ve hit a rough spot and your grades aren’t great, ask for help and you’ll be able to turn it around.”
Over a two-day period, students from Loudoun County High School’s Government and U.S. History classes had the opportunity to sit down with Virginia Delegate Wendy Gooditis. Students came prepared with questions for Delegate Gooditis, as they discussed some of the most unique pieces of legislation that come before the House of Delegates each session as well as the work that happens in committees to bring that legislation to the floor.
As the self-proclaimed “Accidental Delegate,” Gooditis spoke with students about how her diverse background in information technology, education and real estate led to her start in politics. Ultimately, it was her desire to make a difference in honor of her late brother that drove her on the path to Richmond.
During her conversations with students, she applied practical examples to ensure they understood the importance of being informed citizens.
“We all feel like paying taxes can be something we don’t really want to do, but on the other hand we want to have good teachers, we want to have good law enforcement, and we don’t want bridges to collapse when we drive over them. So while politics may not seem that fascinating to you, we can’t live without it. We need to think really carefully about the individuals that we want to represent us.”
In her parting remarks to students, Gooditis emphasized the impact that their voice can have on the current political landscape and beyond. “I hope that you never decide that politics is unimportant or insignificant. It’s so important that you make the decisions – the decisions have to come from you. And that means voting every year, no matter how you vote. Everything in your life is affected by who represents you.”
Published December 29, 2021