February 27-28 I had the privilege of being an honorary page for the 12th biennial Aransas County Day at the Capitol. The students applied to be pages for the event, which is sponsored by the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce.
Aransas County Independent School District (ACISD) and Sacred Heart School students participated in a range of activities.
Our first stop when we got to Austin was the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. I saw some amazing artifacts like the original Goddess of Liberty that stood on top of the Capitol, and the sunken ship La Belle that was excavated from Matagorda Bay.
We went straight to our hotel, afterwards, to get ready for dinner at the Joe C. Thompson Conference Center with Senator Lois Kolkhorst. At dinner, I gave the blessing for our country, which was both an honor and a little nerve wracking. I do not always like public speaking, but this humble act did give me courage.
Sen. Kolkhorst spoke about her efforts in Hurricane Harvey relief and her goals for the future of Aransas County. I had the opportunity to speak with the senator one-on-one. I learned we have a lot in common. We both volunteer at church and play golf. She shared with me that hurricane relief, especially for Aransas County schools, is her priority during the 86th session. Knowing so many in our community still struggle with aftereffects of Harvey, I felt hopeful. I know there is still a long road to follow, but it was nice to think someone in Austin was listening and paying attention.
The next morning we got up bright and early for breakfast. At breakfast, ACISD Superintendent Joseph Patek introduced the honorary pages and gave us each a plaque to commemorate this experience. We also received a small gift from the chamber.
Next we went to the Capitol building, where we toured the Senate floor and took pictures with Sen. Kolkhorst. We went to the messenger room and delivered packages and messages around the Capitol. I had the privilege of sitting in on a nomination hearing, before we went to lunch.
After lunch I watched one of my best friends, Maddie Gordon, perform in the Mighty Fighting Pirate Band. They gave a patriotic performance in the Rotunda.
Rep. Jeanie Morrison gave us a tour of the House chamber. She showed us the voting system that was put in place in 1922 and has been used ever since. We ended the day with a brief meeting with Governor Abbott, before loading the bus to head home.
This experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I learned a lot about my state’s history and government. I am very thankful to Diane Probst and Tiffanie Hoover of the chamber for allowing us all to have this wonderful opportunity. I said at the start of this journey I was thinking about getting involved in RFHS student government; now I am certain. There is too much at stake for our school and our town not to get involved for the betterment of all our residents.