Students Take Over the General Assembly

Five Bishop O'Connell students were part of a group of more than 200 high school students from across the Commonwealth participating in the 2017 Virginia Model General Assembly (MGA) in Richmond. This annual two-day conference takes place in the actual chambers in the state capital, with these high school students forming a model general assembly and taking on the roles of elected officials, lobbyists and media.

Since last fall, this first-year team from O'Connell has been meeting with their advisor, Mr. Greg Haas to research and debate issues. They also attended a bill-writing workshop to help them prepare the bill that they eventually shepherded through committees before being passed by both houses and signed into MGA law.

The O'Connell team included a senator - Nora Stechshulte '17, a delegate – Katie Bourque '17, a lobbyist – Martha Stevens '17, and two members of the media – Rosie Coolidge '18 and Thomas Dannenfelser '19.

"I am impressed by the efforts of our students," said Haas. "Our students performed with confidence and poise and you would never have known this was their first year in this program."

As an extra bonus, Dannenfelser was selected to participate in the YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs, which is a gathering of delegates from each state. The conference will be held this summer in Montgomery, Ala. "This is a phenomenal honor," added Haas. "Only ten students are chosen from each state and it's extremely rare for a first-year participant to be named."