Model Parliament for Youth
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario Model Parliament is an educational program designed for high school students in grades 10 to 12 who are interested in current events and provincial issues. During a three day interactive experience, students have the opportunity to meet key figures in Ontario’s parliament as well as learn about the history of the provincial legislature and the legislative process through workshops and presentations. Students must submit an application to be considered for the program which includes a 500-word essay and a letter of recommendation from a teacher, principal, vice-principal or guidance counsellor.
St. Mary CHS grade 12 student Richard Deeves had an opportunity to participate in the enriching learning experience, and he presented his experience to the Board at the April 17th meeting.
“The program took place over three days at Queens Park in Toronto,” began Deeves. “I was lucky enough to be selected to be the representative for my home riding Leeds Grenville. The application process was quite lengthy, and included an essay. I was really interested in the experience and my parents pushed to follow through with the application process.”
In total, 103 students from across the province participated in the experience, which took place at the end of February.
“I was the first St. Mary student to attend. My dream profession is to be a lawyer, and I knew the experience would help me to learn about the formation of laws and political policy, which seemed like important and applicable knowledge for my future.”
During the three days at Queens Park, students participated in many engaging and enriching activities, including the “Meet the MPP Game”. In this activity, attendees liaised in a “speed rotation” discussion format with MPP’s and non-partisan political employees. Students learned about the political motives of MPP’s, and had an opportunity to connect on a personal level with all of the participants.
“The most enriching experience included the mock parliament session held in the legislative chamber on day three,” noted Deeves. “I learned the most on this day because of the hands on experience. Each party brought a bill to debate in the morning, which was followed by question period in the afternoon.”
Deeves noted that the experience was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I’ve made some lifelong friends and I look forward to using all of the knowledge I’ve gained to help inform my future studies.”
“I would like to congratulate you on your experience,” noted Trustee Robin Reil. “It is certainly a terrific accomplishment for someone coming from the rural parts of Ontario to have this opportunity, and we wish you success as you move on to your studies next year.”