Seventh-grade students researched and wrote essays on Minnesota issues and presented their ideas to Minnesota State Representative Cheryl Youakim on Monday, February 14. She listened, asked questions, and gave advice to the presenters. Then, she had a Q&A session with the students, helping them to understand the role state representatives play in helping Minnesota be a great state to live. Student Revaya D. wrote about the experience:
This past Monday, we had the pleasure of meeting Representative Youakim on Zoom. Normally, seventh graders would have gone to "Youth Day at the Capitol," where we would have gotten to share our research papers that we have written with others. But this year because of COVID, we did it online instead.
After writing our papers, we split into groups based on our topics. During the meeting, after introducing ourselves, three of our five groups presented their ideas. The first group that went was Maya K. and me, talking about animal treatment in zoos. Then Hannah L. and Aiden B. went, and they talked about changing the Minnesota flag. Lastly, Sky L., Abe P.S., and Benny Z. spoke about raising police funding and changing police training.
What was so interesting about it, though, was that no matter what the topic was, even if it wasn't her area of expertise, Representative Youakim knew all about it. She was able to tell us what laws already existed, what bills were yet to come, and what else we could do to help out with our topic. Afterwards, we got to ask her all sorts of questions about her work and life.
One of the questions was about what she felt the most proud of. She answered that she had spent around three years working on a bill to support on-call firefighters, and, because of that accomplishment, she was presented with two honorary axes, one for her and one for her to present to the firefighters. I must say, the ax was pretty cool. It was a very interesting Zoom call that I will always remember.