Winona Model Legislature reconvenes for 60th year

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Sophia Sailer

Eric Schulz, a fifth year at Winona State, described his experience at Model Legislation. “I loved every minute of the experience, although very stressful at times. I was able to make connections with classmates that I would not have without the experience, as well as watch a future generation of children practice such an awesome and important part of our democracy,”.

Sophia Sailer, News Editor

175 students ranging from seventh graders to Winona State University students participated in the largest annual model legislature yet at Donna J. Helble Atrium of Winona State University’s Education Village.

On Thursday, Nov. 17 and Friday, Nov. 18, the 2022 Winona Model Legislature returned to Winona State. Schools that participated were Bluffview Montessori School, Cotter High School, Rushford-Peterson High School, Winona Senior High School, Winona State University and Minnesota State College Southeast Technical.

Minnesota State Representative Gene Pelowski talked about what the model legislature is and what it is meant to teach the children and young adults involved.

“This is based on the Minnesota legislature. Excuse, taking bills from the House and Senate with the Minnesota legislature and debating them in eight standing committees in the morning. They have their own house and own senate. Their own governor. They learn to amend the bill the same way we do, and they have a hands-on experience,” Pelowski said.

Madison Mundt, a Winona State fourth-year social science history teaching major, talked about the process of being a part of the model legislature as a student.

On Thursday, Nov. 17 and Friday, Nov. 18, the 2022 Winona Model Legislature returned to Winona State. Schools that participated were Bluffview Montessori School, Cotter High School, Rushford-Peterson High School, Winona Senior High School, Winona State University and Minnesota State College Southeast Technical. (Sophia Sailer)

“We had the opportunity to choose which committee we wanted to be the chair administrator for, however, the role of chair administrator was given to us by Representative Pelowski. The reason that I chose the Environmental and Agricultural committee is because I grew up, worked, and still work on my family’s dairy farm. Seeing what bills are being introduced, written and passed that would affect my family’s farm is something that I took great interest in,” Mundt stated.

Mundt also spoke about the type of education and experience she gets from this event.

“Being in the Environmental and Agricultural committee definitely opened my eyes to the different types of bills that the state of Minnesota is proposing and how they want to better our state. This experience helped not only me, but the high school students learn how to voice their opinions, even if they are different from others and how to be respectful to those with differing opinions. This was also a great opportunity for me and my classmates to interact with the age groups that we hope to teach in the future,” Mundt said.

Eric Schulz, a fifth year at Winona State, talked about his experience at the Model Legislature.

“I loved every minute of the experience, although very stressful at times. I was able to make connections with classmates that I would not have without the experience, as well as watch a future generation of children practice such an awesome and important part of our democracy,” Schulz said.

Nicholas Sticha, a fourth-year secondary education history teaching major, spoke about what he got out of the experience as well, highlighting the communication skills he gained.

“Besides learning about the legislative system and how to run a committee, I think the biggest skill I learned over the two days is how to get young people to communicate and ask questions when they don’t know everyone in the ‘group’. There was a lot of nervous and timid students that came to participate in Model Legislature and once we were able to get through to them that no one was there to make fun of them or laugh at them they started to open up and make the committees more educational and engaging,” Sticha said. “So the biggest thing I took away from Model Legislature was understanding how to engage middle/high schoolers, to participate in discussion and motivating them to talk about each other’s bills in order to make them stronger,” Sticha said.

Mundt thanked Rep. Pelowksi for this unique experience, considering that Winona is the only place currently thus far that has a model legislature designated for students. Metro State is planning on duplicating the model legislature in the future.

“I would just like to say thank you to Representative Pelowski for allowing me and my classmates to take part in the model legislator. Also, a thank you to my classmates for making this a fun experience that I will remember for a long time,” Mundt said.