Submitted by Marylee Boston
Fourteen students from area secondary schools joined MP Jamie Schmale as part of the third annual Capital Experience. Local Grade 12 Fenelon Falls Secondary School students Shaun Soutar and Charlotte Neumann were privileged to participate in this years event.
Shaun and Charlotte stopped by to share their stories and impressions after spending 3 days in Ottawa. Here’s a quick flyby of the itinerary during their whirlwind trip: meetings with Andrew Scheer the Leader of the Official Opposition, the Chief Herald of Canada, the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as Katlyn Harrison (a graduate of I.E. Weldon) who works at a government relations firm.
The group also attended Question Period where MP Jamie Schmale introduced each student by name and they held a mock Question Period when Parliament was out of session. Next up was the Supreme Court of Canada where they not only toured the building but also held a mock trial and visited the Supreme Court Library. They were amazed how many books were housed in the library considering they were only books relating to law! During the mock trial Charlotte had the honour of sitting on the Supreme Court Justices bench while presiding over the trial. Then there was a trip to the CBC studios for a filming of Power & Politics which included a visit to the control room and a behind the scenes look at the complexities of live television.
Throughout the meetings and experiences both Charlotte and Shaun were overwhelmed with how willingly people gave of their time to meet with them, answer questions and share their life experience. They felt respected and treated as adults who will soon be entering life outside of high school.
The biggest take away from their trip was the continued reminder from those they met to go and experience life; try various jobs, build networks, collect experience and one day the road may lead them to a life in the politics. If not politics, then be an informed and engaged citizen looking to make the world a better place.