AUGUSTA – “Use Your Words” was the message of the day for the 150 high school students who visited the State House on Nov. 16.

The students from six Upward Bound programs located throughout the state met with Gov. John Baldacci and members of the legislature to learn about the workings of state government and the power of one person to advocate for change.

Students heard from Speaker of the House Glen Cummings and debated a bogus bill before entering their vote on the floor of the House.

Sen. Libby Mitchell addressed the group, encouraging each student to exercise their voice to effect change and applauded the first-generation, college-bound students on their aspirations to attend college.

Students later traveled to the University of Maine Farmington campus for activities Friday evening and Saturday morning.

Describing the event at the state house, Lewiston High School junior Sierra Cromwell said, “It was really interesting to participate in a debate and vote on the floor of the House. I was surprised at how open the legislators were to talking with us. I expected them to be more formal and not very accessible, but they’re just real people.”

Cromwell was among the six student “ambassadors” from each of the Upward Bound programs to escort Baldacci into the House Chamber to address the audience.

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