The following essays were written by Monroe Consolidated School seventh- and eighth-grade students after interviewing five local residents and researching a person who contributed to the United States of America in the past.
By Eliza Cowell
Is democracy truly "Of the people," "By the people," and "For the people?" The seventh and eighth graders at Monroe Consolidated School have been researching, and interviewing people who are part of the Government, to answer a question many people have been wondering, "Why Do We Need Government?" During this quest they have found many similarities and differences between the leaders. Although these people of interest have been working in the government at different time frames, there are some things they do the same, and some very different.
Brad Bailey, a State Representative For New Hampshire, went to the Monroe Consolidated School, and was interviewed by the 7/8 grade class. Brad spends most of his time fixing and compromising on problems the people of his district (Grafton County) have. He also spends his time representing the people of his district. The students asked questions about his career and what propelled him to get involved with the government. Because his parents are Italian, and their ancestors came to America and created a better life for themselves, he thought that joining and becoming a part of the government would give back to America and show thanks for creating a good life for him. This is what propelled him to become a leader.
Another person the 7/8 interviewed was Denis Ward. Denis takes on a big role in the farming and agricultural community. He also was part of the school board, and moderates the town meetings. Denis was asked the same questions as Brad, and both said that their parents and other leaders around them had big impacts on their decision to become a part of the government. They also both agreed that the only way students can truly learn about the the way their country is governed is to "get involved" and become leaders themselves.
Along with interviewing people in our local government, the students researched and discovered facts about one person in particular who made a bigger impact on the U.S, such as a president, or activist. For example, I researched President Woodrow Wilson, and with the information found, compared him to the people who were interviewed.
Due to a large difference in the time period, President Wilson didn't have many similarities to the people interviewed, because there were different issues at hand. But there was at least one similarity he had with one of the interviewees, it was the ability to compromise and find common ground between issues. President Wilson, spent most of his political career establishing treaties, to keep the U.S out of World War 1. Although we still entered the war, the devastation was minimized by his efforts. Brad Bailey also spends his political time solving the issues that arise in his district. Whenever a person with a problem brings it to his attention, he will do everything in his power to solve the issue, and make the complainant happy again. Solving these problems isn't as easy as it seems. In some cases compromising is the key. Both of these leaders have established a great ability to work with others, and compromise.
Of course we need government, we have and always will. As stated before, there are still similarities between the leaders of then, and now. Although times have changed, the need for government never will. Government establishes leadership, accommodation, and tranquility between towns, states, and nations. Even though the problems of then and now are different, the solutions are similar, with understanding and compromising.
By Natalie Deschamps
"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors" - Plato. This quote was as true 2,000 years ago as it is today. In order for our government to work, people need to partake in U.S. civic and political life. Without peoples participation our government would not function the way it was intended, and things, from a political view, would change drastically.
There are many people in our community who are getting involved in U.S. civic and political life every day. One of those people is Wendy Stavseth, a former teacher at Monroe Consolidated School who is now working on the Health Care is a Human Right Act in Vermont. Mrs. Stavseth, along with hundreds of other American's, strongly believe that everyone should be able to seek medical care without the fear of being torn down for financial reasons. In order to pass a law that allows healthcare for every American, Mrs. Stavseth and other involved citizens have to "build their army". Everyday Mrs. Stavseth makes hundreds of phone calls, dozens of house trips, and emails till her fingers almost fall off. When Mrs. Stavseth does these things, she isn't thinking of the benefit it will have on her, she is thinking of the impact it will have on others. "If you want to make a difference, think beyond yourself." -- Wendy Stavseth
There are hundreds of ways that you can actively participate in your local or national government. You can go to your school board meeting, make an appearance at your town meetings, support issues others are involved in, or even start a campaign yourself! By taking time out of your life to help others and support your town and country, you can know that you helped make a difference and made someone else's life better.
Without people like Wendy Stavseth, who are willing to give up time to support important issues, our government would be much different. People need to get involved in their government. After all, it was built of the people, by the people, and for the people.
By Abby Morris
"A settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims; principals etc., by reciprocal mortification of demands." Is the definition of compromise...
Compromise is very important in government because sometimes you can always get someone to see you're point of view. So settling in the middle is sometimes hard but its possible.
The seventh and eighth graders sat down with Mr. Brad Bailey to talk about his experience in government. They asked him a page of questions. One question they asked him was, "how do you try to understand other people's perspective, when there's a disagreement how do you get groups of people to come to an agreement." Bailey responded by saying, "politics is the art of compromise," and compromise can be an art. As they sat down with four other government representatives, another person who really understood the "art of compromise" was Wendy Stavseth.
Mrs. Stavseth got involved to find a better healthcare system for Vermont. When the seventh and eighth graders asked her about compromise, she said, "'listening' is the most important thing for compromise." Stavseth often talks with people who may not agree with her about the issue, but she finds that listening to their stories helps them agree on changes that could be made.
Compromise can be difficult but it is the key to actually getting things accomplished. "Truth is the glue that holds the government together. Compromise is the oil that makes the government go." -- Gerald Ford
By Breanna Fearon
Even throughout the test of time, some similarities within politics never fade. Some of the same concepts that were necessary back when politics began, when humans were just hunters and gatherers, are still necessary now. Some similarities between local/community leaders includes: listening to each other and being devoted to the issue you feel strongly about. Nothing would have ever been accomplished so many years ago if no accommodations were made by listening to each other to find a common ground. These key parts of the political timeline may have never been created without political leaders finding a compromise, or trying to make a long lasting impression on the community, and future generations to come.
The 7/8 grade class at Monroe Consolidated School interviewed five individuals that are community leaders around Monroe. Some messages the interviewees left with the class include getting involved, staying educated on the political arguments around the community, and really listening to others in debates to learn both sides of an argument. One person that left a positive impact in my mind was Brad Bailey. Mr. Bailey has been involved in politics for about 20 years and now is the State Representative for Grafton 14 (7 towns). If there's an issue in his district, he takes care of it as quickly as possible, helping people is one of his favorite parts of the job. "It's all volunteer."
Along with Brad Bailey, the class interviewed another leader who takes politics in a different direction, Wendy Stavseth. Wendy Stavseth is more of a one issue person. She focuses more on the "Single Payer Healthcare System in Vermont," trying to ensure that everyone who needs Health Care has the opportunity to get it. She's been campaigning for a long time in the hopes that her work will help to get the message she's campaigning for across. Mrs. Stavseth looks to help, not only herself, but others that the laws would affect. "You want to make a difference, you want to think beyond yourself."
Both Brad Bailey and Wendy Stavseth are positive local, and community leaders. From a multiple issue person, to a one issue person. From an elected official, to a citizen with a voice. From someone who has to see multiple views and make a compromise, to someone who is really focused on a few issues. These almost opposite citizens are both positive people to talk to, but also stand up for what they believe and feel is the right thing to do. These political leaders, Brad Bailey and Wendy Stavseth, really help people understand how two very different people, can both be leaders in their own ways.