SPRING VALLEY – Spring Valley High School junior Maddie Shafer was recently chosen as a State Senate Scholar winner.
The State Senate Scholar is a unique educational experience offered to high school juniors and seniors. One student from each of the 33 Senate Districts is chosen to participate in the weeklong program in Madison. According to the website “The Senate Scholar Program is an intensive weeklong educational program offered by the Wisconsin State Senate. Admission to the program is highly competitive and is limited to 33 academically exceptional high school juniors and seniors from around Wisconsin. Each Senate Scholar receives a hands-on, up-close view of the Legislature’s role in our democracy.”
Students gain experience in areas such as policy development, constituent relations and processing legislation by working with senators, legislative staff and University of Wisconsin faculty. The advanced government curriculum includes classroom instruction, roundtable discussion sections, and a lab component. The first part of the week the scholars spend several days in a classroom setting. Experts teach scholars about constituent relations, research and development of legislation, and bill drafting. Scholars engage in roundtable discussions with legislative support agency directors and staff, media, and lobbyists throughout the week resulting in further insight into all facets of the legislative process. The remainder of the week scholars put their knowledge into action. Scholars staff the Senate floor during an actual legislative session and witness the Senate debate on legislation. Scholars will also draft their own bills and amendments, form their own mock committee, and elect committee leadership. Finally, the lab component culminates in Friday’s committee hearing that includes testimony from executive agency department heads, lobbyists, and members of the public. Shafer’s mother Jessica said the selection process was rigorous.
“She had to get letters of recommendation, take a test, fill out an application, write essays and submit her transcript,” she said.
Shafer will attend the program March 12-17.
Submitted by Spring Valley High School