High School Leaders Program, Class of 2016
Day 4: Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Reported by: Kameron Choe, South Lakes High School and Mynome Lorde, Manchester High School
On day four of the Sorensen Institute High School Leaders Program (HSLP), we started the day off with Professor Marc Johnson. Right out of the gate, Professor Johnson asked the students what they had taken away from the program in the past three days. In general, many of the students stated that they took away how the state has changed parties over the years. After this brief discussion, he divided the class into four different groups. Each group had to make a 15-minute presentation on Virginia's political history, which touched on the key moments defining the state and making it what it is today. Many of the students learned of the Byrd political machine and how it was such a powerhouse in the 1920s to the early 1960s. As a fun little twist, Professor Johnson put a lot of points into the creativity of the presentation, which challenged the groups to use some imagination to develop a more interactive way of learning for the students.
For lunch, we had Jason’s Deli salad and sandwiches. An hour after lunch had started, Cash Arehart, the director of Sorensen's student programs, taught the class about the differences between debate and dialogue. In short, debate is more of speaking your own thoughts while dialogue consists of you listening to others. After Cash’s short session, Omar Karim, a fellow HSLP participant, introduced Brian Cannon, the executive director of OneVirginia2021. OneVirginia2021 is a nonprofit interest group that fights for fair redistricting in Virginia. Mr. Cannon went in-depth on how redistricting can affect an election. He showed us a lot of diagrams to explain his reasoning.
Late in the afternoon, Cash came back to give a lecture about the skills and techniques of presenting. He explained the four P’s to the class: (1) purpose, (2) plan, (3) presence, and (4) “phollow” up. Cash gave specific tips to be prepared during a presentation, as well as a few more acronyms such as MARF (Maintain, Absolute, Rigid, Flexibility) and KISS (Keep, It, Simple, Stupid).
After a dinner of hamburgers and hotdogs and sides, we went to the amphitheater to get our individual pictures taken, as well as the group photo. Even though it drizzled and was very humid, we managed to take the pictures and get back to Bice without being rained on.
So far, the experience has been second to none, especially in the way that we are exposed to the political system. As the program progresses, our work has started to add up, but with a steady work ethic and a little bit of time, we can complete it. Overall, we have started to bond with each other and learned how to operate while listening to each other’s different points of view.
Wednesday, Jul 13, 2016