As the first couple of weeks have gone by working in state government since April, I noticed that things were getting picked up. The rhythm of my daily responsibilities changed a bit, for the good, that allowed me to interact more with the community that I live in. My representative and I began to notice some things among the high school seniors (Class of 2018) that were about to graduate in a few short weeks. What we noticed was a lot of young people who lived in our district – faced a lack of motivation. Many of the schools in the district that the rep and I serve were low performing schools with students of various social economic backgrounds.
I decided to take the initiative and start a project on behalf of the representative to uplift students at these various schools. I decided that we should attend every high school graduation in district one and present certificates for every graduating senior – with special tributes to their valedictorian, salutatorian, and class president. Once I shared this idea to the representative, she was happy to join in on this initiative and gave me the reigns. Soon after, I contacted every high school administrator and counselor that was in our house district (which was a total of 7) to get the names of every graduating senior and top honor students (valedictorian, salutatorian, and class president) and also inquired about having the state representative speak at their graduation ceremony. Almost all of the schools allowed the representative to speak at the graduation ceremony, (except for one school because it was against their district’s rule to have a party affiliated political candidate speak at a school’s event).
Anyhow, immediately after getting the details I needed, I added the dates and times to the representative’s calendar and made up a template for the certificates to start typing in names. Everything went well with this technique, however it was sometimes time consuming, depending on how many graduating seniors in each school. One school had 450 seniors, while another school may have between 150-300. The templates also had to be on official Michigan House of Representatives certificate paper and formatted correctly with the correct spelling of students’ names. I kept saying throughout working on this project, that it is to brighten our young people on their special day, and give them encouragement and praise as they pursue their endeavors in: college, trade school, gap year, job training, armed forces, etc.