Superintendent Winfried Feneberg
114 Cougar Court
New London, NH 03257
For Immediate Release
Friday, Dec. 6, 2019
Contact: Kelsey Bode
Email: [email protected]
Kearsarge Students Learn to Effect Change Through Advocacy With Extended Learning Opportunity
NEW LONDON – Students at Kearsarge Regional High are learning to advocate for causes they believe in this school year, thanks to an Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) at the school.
For the first time, students at Kearsarge Regional High have an opportunity to take a Leaders in Advocacy ELO Course this year, through which they are learning about advocacy, the state’s legislature, bill writing and leadership.
Each month, eight Kearsarge students participating in the ELO are visiting the New Hampshire State House in Concord to participate in workshops and guest lectures with legislators. The students are additionally engaging in advocacy workshops through New Futures, a non-partisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for the wellbeing and health of New Hampshire residents, and holding round table discussions with advocates and advocacy groups on real world issues in New Hampshire.
This spring, students will take the insight they’ve learned from the course and work with legislators on newly drafted bills addressing current issues of their choice. Students will then testify in favor of those bills in front of legislative committees at the State House.
“Students don’t always realize the power they have to effect change as young people, and this course provides the tools and firsthand experience to show them just how much is possible,” said Melinda Wilder, Coordinator of Kearsarge’s ELO program.
Wilder co-created the course in partnership with Kearsarge Transition Coordinator Rebecca Hemingway.
On Nov. 19, eight students in the Leaders in Advocacy ELO met and held discussions with New Hampshire Rep. Cassandra Levesque, who spearheaded a movement to increase New Hampshire’s minimum age for marriage from 13 years old to 16, and Ana Goble, a Concord High School student known for speaking up about her concerns regarding the alleged inappropriate actions of a teacher against other students.
“It inspired me to see that young people can have a voice and make a difference,” said Phoenix Chouinard, a senior, after speaking with Goble and Levesque. “They helped me realize I can be part of a government and actually do something. Now I plan to write my own bill.”
“The stories inspired me, especially with me being a Girl Scout and currently working on my Gold Award,” said Olivia Parker, a junior. “I learned that advocacy is such a powerful tool that is accessible to anyone, and can be used for great change.”
Students also visited the New Hampshire Coalition of Domestic and Sexual Violence on Nov. 19, where they toured the facility and heard from members of the coalition about their work.
Students taking the course this year include Danielle Partridge, a junior; Madison Hemingway, a senior; Kadyn Decelle, a senior; Phoenix Chouinard, a senior; Makenzie Sirek, a sophomore; Will Walker, a junior; Olivia Parker, a junior; and Abigail Peterson, a junior.