Grondalski, Moore take part in Student Government Day
By Anya Grondalski
Special to The Citizen Chronicle
BOSTON — Earlier this month, on April 5, Shepherd Hill Regional High School juniors Ryan Moore and Anya Grondalski, accompanied by teacher Kathryn Pelligrini, attended the 72nd Annual Student Government Day on Beacon Hill.
The two local students arrived at the State House early in the morning.
Grondalski, participating as a member of the House of Representatives while Moore sat in as a House Alternate. They reviewed, argued, and voted on two bills; one, related to children’s tackle football and the other, a bill to regulate flavored tobacco products. Grondalski and Moore were among 400 students from high schools across Massachusetts. The purpose of the event is to educate and involve young people in government so that they can “cherish it and move it forward”; as stated by Frank Moran, a Democrat and member of the House.
The Speaker of the House, Robert A. DeLeo, touched on anti-gun laws, bullying, and the importance of voting. During his introduction, he nonchalantly slid in humorous commentary about the “hatred” between the two parties. He was followed by Senator John Keenan, who participated as a student at the event in 1981. Senator Jason Lewis bragged about Massachusetts in saying “The Massachusetts State Constitution is the oldest written Constitution still used and functioning in the United States”. He then continued to touch on the importance of education, and how without it, the system of government simply does not work.
After being introduced to a plethora of important people, it was time for a simulated Joint Committee Hearing. Each bill welcomed only seven students, (whomever ran to the microphone the fastest), to openly speak in opposition or affirmation of the bill, including their reasons why and any amendments they saw beneficial. The overwhelming opinions regarding tackle football where either that the proposed bill was a violation of a parent’s choice to decide for their child, and the necessity of the state to regulate the safety of minors. The tobacco bill brought more heated discussion, as many opinions were influenced by consumerism, free will, and personal views on items such as vapes and e-cigarettes. When the session adjourned, students acting as members of the Senate, Constitutional Officers, and Judicial Court broke away into separate simulations while the remaining students did an official vote on the two bills, welcoming discussion of any previously proposed amendments. Most students got to meet their respective State Representatives and take pictures with them, and some even went on tours of parts of the State House. The day concluded promptly at 1 p.m., as students left with their teachers excitedly talking about their experience on the Hill.
Anya Grondalski is a junior at Shepherd Hill Regional High School and served as a representative in Student Government Day earlier this month.