Southeastern High School got a chance to see what it’s like to be in control of the government during a day trip to the Michigan State Capitol and Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing this winter.
Even though the legislators were not in season on the day of the tour, Southeastern students saw where the various arms of government met -- governor, legislators and judges -- and how the state government operates.
“I felt like I was a part of the government system,” said Myanna Washington-Armstrong, a sophomore. “Sitting in the chamber made me feel like I was the governor. I wonder what it would be like to actually sit in on a legislative session.”
Jacqueline Robinson, Southeastern ELA teacher and Journalism advisor, organized the day trip that included SE teachers Nicholas Olson, Civics and Economics; Dennis Veal, U.S./ African American History; Debra Russ, Algebra1/Geometry; and Arthur Johnson, Biology. Some 50 SE Freshmen and Sophomores travelled to the state capitol to learn more about their government and state history. Students received hands-on experience of what it's like to be a state governor, judge, house or state representative. The trip was meant to show the importance of Michigan government and how it affects the lives of every citizen, and how citizens can impact the government.
“We hope that touring the capitol and museum will help students see the rich history that is theirs as Michigan citizens,” said Robinson. “We hope that they will get a sense of Michigan’s government and how important it is for them to understand and participate in it. Maybe they will run for office one day. Maybe they will realize the importance of voting. Maybe they will become employees supporting our vast system. There are so many possibilities.”
The day started with a tour of the Michigan Historical Museum. Students saw the beginning of Michigan’s history, dating back to prehistoric times, and ended with the present. There was a lot to see in a short amount of time.
“My experience with the trip was fun,” said Sophomore Derwin Smith. “I liked the historical part of it. I felt like I was there in the moment.”
Sophomore James Echols agreed that the Michigan Historical Museum is designed to make tourists feel as if they have been transported back in time.
“I learned about all of our history in Michigan and that Detroit was found before the state of Michigan,” said Sophomore James Echols. I liked looking outside of the glass window in the Michigan Museum. You can see a small tree outside. It made me feel free and peaceful, and to me it represents freedom. That was my experience. Being in the museum was peaceful.”
After a brief lunch, students were transported to the State Capitol building, where they were greeted by a tour guide who explained the history of the building and the hard work needed to maintain the State Capitol. The tour guide took the students and staff through the building to see marvelous, historical areas, and the governor’s office. Students also walked on the glass floor and saw many paintings created decades ago.
The importance of the field trip was beyond the visuals. Not everyone knows much about who represents us in our government. This trip could encourage some high school students to run for governor or even become president. This could influence and encourage many young people in Detroit to do positive things in their future.