Students get insight into state government

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Members of the Youth in Government Club got a firsthand look at the life of a legislator Tuesday when state. Rep. Susan Martin, R-Wilson, spoke to the group at Greenfield School.

The club is sponsored by the Wilson Family YMCA.

“The students actually learn how state government works,” said Paul “Chance” Reynolds, assistant head of school at Greenfield School. “The students go to Raleigh, and they actually attend meetings in the capital and use the committee meetings’ offices.”

Students speak with senators, representatives, lobbyists, budget analysts and other state government employees.

“It’s just a really neat experience for the students,” Reynolds said. “So it is such a neat tie-in to have someone who actually does this come and speak to the students about what the life of a legislator is like.”

Martin told the club how she got into politics, details of her daily work routine and what challenges she faces in the legislature.

“She gave us a very heartfelt personal talk about how she reached out to God and asked, ‘Is this is what you are calling me to do?’” Reynolds said.

Junior Safa Ahmed said she learned a lot about the process that Martin had to go through the become a legislator.

“It was interesting because she loved helping the community, and I am interested in that too,” Ahmed said. “That’s how you give back.”

Junior Patrick Smith, who is the president of the Youth in Government Club, said visits to the General Assembly helped students understand how state government works and how it might affect citizens.

“Having a role in it and understanding it on a deeper level was pretty neat,” Smith said. “I think it is important to give back to the community whenever you are in a good position to do it. There are so many people who are worse off than you, so you need to give back as much as you can and help. I like that.”

Smith said learning about government and public service early can shape students for who they are going to be as adults.

“You can have a bigger impact then, so it is like practice for what you are going to do when you are older,” Smith said.

“I feel like it’s important for kids to understand that,” Ahmed said. “Every vote does count. They add up. If more people voted, it could change an election. Even one vote can make a big difference.”