On Thursday, Sept. 8, students from Kent County High School traveled with Kent County Next Generation Scholars Program Coordinator Aundra Anderson, far left, to Goucher College in Baltimore to attend the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education’s third annual Youth Congress Day. Joining Anderson are, from left, Brayden Wallace, Jaeda Hoxter, Molly Depp, Lupe Duarte, Ariel Purnell, Madison Messick, Amaya Barrett, Gabby Mincey, JaMiya Christy, Tatiana Thomas, Hammid Shabbir of Mount Hebron High School and Jessica Rosanova.
BALTIMORE — The Maryland Business Roundtable for Education (MRBT), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping high school students graduate ready for college and career, held its third annual Youth Congress Day on Thursday, Sept. 8 at Goucher College, with Kent County High School students actively participating.
More than 100 students were invited from high schools throughout Maryland to learn about voting, take a virtual tour of Maryland’s State Capitol and advocate for policy changes on issues that matter to them.
The 2022 Youth Congress Day gave Kent County High School students an opportunity to work with peers from Baltimore City and Allegany, Caroline, Dorchester, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s and Wicomico counties.
“It was important for me to be here today to hear all the opinions of my peers that I usually only communicate with on social media,” said Amaya Barrett, a junior at Kent County High School and MBRT student ambassador, at Youth Congress Day.
Barrett and her classmates were joined by Aundra Anderson, the Next Generation Scholars program coordinator at Kent County High School.
"The MBRT Youth Congress Day puts students in the room with industry experts, business owners and legislative professionals to highlight important issues and work toward making improvements," Anderson said.
A highlight for her was watching the MRBT student ambassadors take charge and lead sessions with their peers.
"The student perspective is so powerful and it's important for them to recognize and understand the power they have to make effective change," Anderson said.
Using curriculum from Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to building the political power of young people, MBRT student ambassadors and members of Goucher’s award-winning student-led Voter Mobilization Team kicked off the day teaching Maryland students about voting.
Eligible students were able to register on site.
Following the focus on voting, a representative from the Maryland Visitors Bureau led students on a virtual tour of Maryland’s State Capitol, which is currently under renovation, and provided an overview of the legislative process.
Students also learned how to get involved through the student page program, internships and scholarships.
Youth Congress Day continued with discussions on policy topics of interest led by MBRT’s student ambassadors.
Issues included diverse representations in STEM, changing the voting age to 16, mental health, and the cost of and access to higher education.
“We heard how people feel about the government and what important problems could be addressed like gun violence happening in America,” said Jaeda Hoxter, a junior at Kent County High School and an MBRT student ambassador.
Later that afternoon, students presented their position as well as a call to action on each issue during MBRT’s Annual Meeting in Goucher’s Ungar Athenaeum in front of Maryland employers, educators, elected officials and those running for office.
“With Goucher College’s longstanding commitment to civic engagement and public policy, we were excited to welcome MBRT and high school students from throughout Maryland to this Youth Congress Day,” said Goucher College President Kent Devereaux. “By partnering with MBRT, we look forward to engaging with young people earlier so they can actively participate in strengthening our democracy.”
Brian Dulay, executive director of MRBT, said the goal for Youth Congress Day was for students to return to their homes and schools knowing their voice matters and how they can amplify it to make it count — especially in an election year.
“Civic engagement is a cornerstone to our democracy, and now more than ever it’s critical for our youth to learn about the legislative process and be inspired to become active citizens in their communities,” Dulay said.
Learn more about MBRT at www.mbrt.org.
Kent County High School juniors Amaya Barrett, back row left, and Jaeda Hoxter, front row, second from left, were two of nine student ambassadors participating in the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education’s third annual Youth Congress Day at Goucher College Sept 8.
High school students conduct a voting simulation during Youth Congress Day, holding up cards indicating their top issue and choosing between immigration (blue), economy (green), gun violence (red), global warming (yellow) and other (white).