MARYSVILLE — Thanks to a recently completed campaign of fundraising throughout the community, the students of the Life Skills Leadership class at Marysville-Pilchuck High School will be heading off to Olympia in the New Year.
Jim Strickland, the teacher of the Life Skills class at M-PHS, explained that the purpose of the one-day trip — from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30 — is to give the students an opportunity to tour through Washington state’s capitol and meet with several of the state’s legislators.
“Students will get first-hand experience advocating for the rights of citizens with disabilities,” Strickland said. “They will also have a chance to make their voices heard on other issues of concern to youth and our community.”
For many of the Life Skills students, this trip will be their first time inside the state Legislature, but for 21-year-old Preston Dwoskin, who officially received his high school diploma in 2012, those hallowed halls are familiar ground.
“When students have never been there before, they learn so much from interacting with their legislators,” said Dwoskin, who’s visited Olympia as part of the Arc of Snohomish County’s leadership development program and spoken to the media about how proposed budgets could impact people with disabilities, like himself. “It’s one thing to know who your legislators are and where their offices are located, but it means so much more when you see what kind of impact you can have just by talking to them. If we as people with disabilities don’t tell our stories, our legislators won’t know what pieces of the picture they’re missing.”
Strickland thanked the community for supplying the $725 fee to pay for the trip’s only expense — bus transportation through Chinook Charter Services.