Each fall, Fairport High School (FHS) students have a unique opportunity to work with government leaders in Washington, D.C. to discuss topics and issues they research as part of a social studies elective course, Senior Leadership Seminar. This year, 119 seminar students traveled to D.C, September 22-25, 2019 and engaged in a rigorous schedule that allowed them to showcase their research.
The course begins in the summer and requires student groups to begin researching a topic currently facing the nation. Once the school year begins, the students contact members of the U.S. government who are involved in the topic. Students arrange to meet with the government members as part of a field study locally or in Washington, D.C. when they go on the Leadership Trip to Washington, D.C. in September.
Topics this year include ISIS, nuclear proliferation, immigration reform, mass shootings, election security, infectious disease, U.S. China policy, prescription drugs and climate change.
Highlights of the trip included several meetings at FBI headquarters, briefing and tour at the Pentagon, meetings with various trade officials at the State department and the Office of the US Trade Representative, meetings with Treasury officials, DEA officials, Chair of the Federal Election Commission and meetings on Capitol Hill with various Congressional staffers. Students also interacted with several members of the House and Senate. They also happened to witness the energy on the Hill with the Speaker of the House’s announcement of the impeachment inquiry.
“The Leadership trip was outstanding; meeting with the leaders of today will help us become the leaders of tomorrow,” said student Aidan Cornelius. “I hope that I can better myself through this experience and grow as a future leader. I would like to thank Mr. Sax, Mr. Mallaber, and the chaperones for giving us this opportunity.”
Student David Munechika, who researched mass shootings, said, “When I signed up to take Leadership, I knew the trip would be a completely unique experience, but it turned out to be even more rewarding than I imagined. Being able to discuss solutions to relevant problems in today’s society with the people directly involved in the legislative proposals was incredibly beneficial to allow me and my group to formulate informed positions on our topic.”
Munechika added, “I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and would like to thank everyone that was involved in making the trip a successful and positive experience.”
Student Jillian Russo of the US China Trade policy group, said, “I loved working with different people throughout the Leadership seminar. I especially enjoyed taking some initiative during our meetings in Washington, DC as it provided me with a great learning experience.”
“The Leadership trip was super educational, and it opened my eyes up to new opportunities,” said Madison Kelly of the Transnational Organized Crime group. “Meeting with DEA special agents exposed me to jobs and careers that I never thought of before. The trip and this class have given me a greater understanding of how hard work, education, and effort pays off. The trip to Washington, DC made me feel like a real working adult.”
Students are currently preparing for the Parent Night Program on October 28. The night will begin at 7:00 pm with a few opening remarks in the Auditorium. After these opening remarks, the students will be sharing their findings on their respective topics.