Originally published at Public School Options on March 8, 2023
Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has signed Arkansas LEARNS! Now students like Bella will have access to the educational option that is best for them! Today, Bella shares her recent advocacy story at the Arkansas State Capitol.
I went to the Arkansas State Capitol, the ultimate American experience. It was a beautiful sight to see. When I first got to the event we went to the Red and Blue building that is beside the Capitol. This event was put on in cooperation with the PSO (Public School Options).
I went inside the Red and Blue building which was many shades of brown. I was given a dark yellow manila folder with three names printed on a medium sized white label. The names were Annabella Addison, Senator Ricky Hill, and Representative Roger D. Lynch. Instantly it all felt personal. I looked inside of my manila folder. I saw two letter templates provided for me to write letters to the Senator and Representative. A Chick-Fil-A catered lunch was provided, it was delicious. A legislator/doctor gave a speech and took a few questions, including mine. After he answered some other people’s questions I asked “What would your childhood self think of you now?” He took a moment to ponder on that question and said something along the lines of, I think he’d be happy that I’m doing something that makes me happy. After telling his story about his first visit to the Capitol, which he had taken as a child, he told us he never dreamed he’d be a legislator.
While my group and I ate lunch the PSO presented an award to Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She sent her emissary to collect it for her. Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders was busy since her LEARNS bill was making its way through the Senate and House chambers. History was literally in the making.
Immediately after lunch the group that I was with walked to the Capitol and it was everything it had been built up to be. While I was walking to the underside of the stairs I saw a flag waving in the air and soon realized there was a protest going on at the front steps of the Capitol. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was a security guard at an entry checkpoint. I then walked into the rotunda and marveled at how divine and big the marble walls and tall ceiling was. There were beautiful paintings and sculpted Rockefeller heads. I walked up the wonderful marble stairs on the north side to see a TV and a table. On the TV was a live broadcast of what was happening in the House Chamber. At the tables were people in red coats taking letters for the Senators. After I handed them my letter for the Senator assigned to me, they instructed me to go to the Senate Chamber, which was on the south side, where the people with gold coats were taking letters for Representatives. After that I roamed around the building to see the sights and soon went to the first floor where the gift shop was. I eventually decided that out of all of the cool things in the gift shop, I wanted Arkansocks and tea. I instantly loved my new Arkansas socks with Sasquatch getting his mugshot printed on them. I have to say that the Arkansocks were my favorite part.
I left the building and noticed that the protest had grown in size and people. They waved their flags and yelled “WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER”. That just added to the American experience if you ask me.
To learn more about Arkansas Virtual Academy, visit https://arva.k12.com/.