BURLINGTON, Vt., May 26 – Nearly 50 students from Woodstock Union High School and Twinfield Union School on Wednesday traveled to the non-partisan Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston as part of “Vermont Day,” an educational visit organized by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for Vermont students to learn first-hand about democracy and the Senate legislative process. Sanders addressed the students Wednesday afternoon during their trip in livestreamed remarks from his Senate office in Washington, D.C.
“I am so pleased to see that ‘Vermont Day’ is taking place once again,” said Sanders, who serves on the Senate education committee. “It is a wonderful opportunity for you, as young people, to learn how our government works and how you can be involved in developing solutions to the problems we face. So the question you have to ask yourself, how does change come about? Real change never takes place starting in the White House or in Congress. It starts in the streets, and in the communities where people demand that change and Congress is responsive to it.”
Each year, the students participate in an immersive experience, including taking on the role of “Senator-for-a-Day” in a full-scale replica of the U.S. Senate chamber. This year’s visit included researching, introducing, and debating legislation to address the climate crisis and marked the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that Vermont students have participated in the Kennedy Institute’s innovative programming. Prior to the pandemic, Sanders’ office organized twice yearly trips to the Institute with over 500 Vermont students participating to date.
“We’re thrilled to welcome back schools from the Green Mountain State to experience all that the Kennedy Institute has to offer, and to engage with Vermont students around the legislative process and civic life,’’ said Sarah Yezzi, Institute Director of Education, Family & Youth Programming. “Our thanks go out to Senator Sanders and his dedicated staff for their continued leadership and support in making Vermont Day a highlight of our year at the Kennedy Institute.”
Chris Sheehan, a teacher at Twinfield Union School, said, “The staff at the Kennedy Center was so hard working and so engaging. My students felt empowered by the lively and civil debate and learned more about how U.S. Democracy works in two hours than I can teach in a month. Senator Sanders makes it clear that he values the voices of our youth.”
“It is no secret these are incredibly challenging times for all of us, especially our young people,” said Sanders. “I believe it is more important than ever for every citizen to be involved in the political process. The good news is that today’s young people understand that so many of the issues facing our nation are going to directly impact their generation and they are standing up to make their voices heard. And that’s exactly what today is about: becoming more involved. When we work together and debate the big issues, we can make meaningful change.”
Schools and students that are interested in participating in the next “Vermont Day” during the Fall 2022 semester can contact Senator Sanders’ office toll-free at 1-800-339-9834. For media and press questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.