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Campus News

February 3rd, 2020

GC students savor time with Edwards, Beitzel

Legislators host college students in pre-Advocacy Day meeting

Garrett students in Annapolis

Four Garrett College Student Government Association officers recently traveled to Annapolis to take part in Community College Student Advocacy Day. The students, left to right on the steps of the capitol, are Charity Moser, Tierra Jones, Emma Helton, and Taira Johnson

Annapolis, MD – Official Community College Student Advocacy Day activities took place on Tuesday, but Garrett College's students most enjoyed an informal Monday night meeting with Senator George Edwards (R-1) and Delegate Wendell Beitzel (R-1A).

"I thought it was interesting learning about the legislative process," said GC student Charity Moser, a Northern Garrett High grad who is a member of GC's Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. "It was really cool to meet a senator and a delegate and talk about what brought them here [to the General Assembly]."

Emma Helton, a homeschooled student now majoring in Adventure Sports Management at GC, agreed.

"They [Edwards and Beitzel] were very nice and understanding," said Helton, who is a member of the college's Wildlife Club. "I thought it was a really good opportunity to see how everything works [in the legislature] and how much they care about community colleges."

Edwards and Beitzel may have even planted the seeds for a future politician in Monday's meeting.

"Now I'm thinking about being a legislator," said Upper Marlboro resident Tierra Jones, who is president of GC's Student Government Association. "It was really nice to feel the issues we have as students actually mean something to them [Edwards and Beitzel]."

Taira Johnson, an Easton Shore resident who plays on the GC women's basketball team, said she was impressed by all Edwards and Beitzel do to support GC funding requests and "all the things they do to help us be successful." "I'm very grateful that Senator Edwards and Delegate Beitzel made it a priority to meet with our student delegation," said Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College's president, who attended the meeting along with Student Activities Manager Brandon Jackson. "I know they have so many responsibilities during the 90-day General Assembly session. For them to take the time to meet with us after the regular work day says so much about their commitment to our students."

Jackson lauded the students – who were also able to observe the Maryland Senate in session during their time in Annapolis – for their leadership in representing the College.

"Our students made a huge commitment to spend two days and one night in Annapolis to represent the College," said Jackson. "I think that commitment was rewarded with an unbelievable experience."

On Tuesday, the GC delegation joined students from the other 15 Maryland community colleges in a Student Advocacy Day rally that heard from several legislators and a featured student speaker. Delegate Ken Kerr (D-3B) – who won his legislative seat after a 25-year career as a professor at four Maryland community colleges – gave the students some career counseling.

"I've found the students that do well are the students working towards a goal," said Kerr, who used his own career plan as an example. "I spent 20 years getting the background and experience to someday become a delegate."

Garrett students in Annapolis

Garrett College President Dr. Richard Midcap, far left, and GC Student Activities Manager Brandon Jackson, far right, accompanied four GC Student Government Association officers to Annapolis for Student Advocacy Day. Students, left to right, are Taira Johnson, Tierra Jones, Emma Helton, and Charity Moser.

Senator Mary Beth Carozza (R-38C) told the assembled student delegations that Student Advocacy Day "is truly one of my favorite days of the [legislative] session." Meanwhile, Senator Delores Kelley (D-10) implored the students to actively engage with their legislators.

"Your issues ought to be our issues," said Kelley. "The people you send to Annapolis are there to support you. We really need to hear from you."

Carroll Community College student Morgan Barton, a single mother who was also the featured student speaker, talked about how her 7-year-old son convinced her to go back to college.

"Logan told me it just was not fair that he had homework and I didn't," said Barton, who is in CCC's early childhood education program. "Now, he reminds me when it's time to do homework – and when it's family movie night.

"I'm not just another face in the crowd," added Barton, who praised the tutoring and mentoring support available at CCC. "Carroll has given me countless opportunities larger colleges and universities wouldn't have been able to provide."