Tuesday was stacked with meetings on Capitol Hill! We started things off on the House Floor with a Democratic Congressman from Connecticut, Jim Himes. Congressman Himes was charismatic and shared his thoughts on important issues like race relations as well as his perspective on the U.S. government. He noted that he likes the House of Representatives because “It’s the purest form of democracy.” Following our chat with Congressman Himes, we toured the historic Capitol Building.
After our tour, we headed outside for a chat with fellow Connecticut leader, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal. While overlooking the Capitol steps, Senator Blumenthal spoke with our group about his work on the judiciary committee, among other things. He noted one challenge of his work: “Are you going to think about what’s good locally, or what’s good for the nation?” “Hopefully the two coincide,” he stated.
Next we headed to the office of Republican South Carolina Senator Tim Scott. Senator Scott drew on personal experiences when answering our students’ questions, and cautioned about the dangers of partisanship. He encouraged our students to “understand and appreciate the nuances of debate” and raised the important question, “How do we help people make better decisions about their lives?”
After exploring Capitol Hill, we headed back to our hotel to prepare for our meeting with Admiral James Stavridis and our Tour Reception at Squash on Fire. Admiral Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander Of NATO (and Navy squash player), spoke to our group about leadership. “No one of us is as smart as all of us together,” shared the Admiral.
Along with the Admiral, nearly 100 friends and supporters of SEA came to Squash on Fire to celebrate the Tour. SEA Alumna and Citizenship Tour Counselor Zoe Russell gave some compelling remarks, we mingled with the Tour planning committee, and watched squash pros Alister Walker and Karan Malik play each other in an exhibition match.
After a long, eventful evening, we spent time reflecting as a group and prepared for our very last day on the tour.
Tour Counselor Takeover! Please see what Stacy Maceda, CitySquash alum and recent graduate of Hobart William Smith, had to say about our Tuesday adventures and the tour in general below:
“This year I decided to return to the Citizenship Tour as a counselor. I took part in the inaugural year of the Citizenship Tour, and I have seen it continuously progress with bright students always prepared to engage in conversation with high profiled individuals. This year I was more than surprised by the intelligent group of students that took part of the tour this year. To conclude what was already an amazing week we met with individuals like Congressmen Jim Himes, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senator Tim Scott, and Admiral Jim Stavridis.
The students with no doubt were prepared for the day full of events and had done extensive research on these individuals who have so much power in the decisions that impact our students lives. A personal highlight was being able to enter the House Chamber where Congressman Jim Himes gave us a historical overview of a space where laws are debated and passed. To me it was significant because we were able to occupy a space that gives significance to the current polarized state of our nation.
To finish off the night, we went to the Squash on Fire courts to hold the fundraiser reception for the Citizenship Tour. To start off the night we had alumnae Zoey Russell give a speech that highlighted the importance of the tour and how she saw the students impacted by this week’s meetings with high profiled individuals. Then we had Admiral Jim Stavridis give a speech on the importance of leadership to make the changes that we want to see. As students reflected on the tour later that night at our evening meeting, we had some speak on the amazing experiences they had and the friendships they would walk away with. With tears in their eyes and final goodbyes students were left impacted with the amazing experiences they were able to have. Thank you to our amazing staff, committee members and SEA network. Without your support this week would not have been as successful as it was!”