South Dakota JAG students headed to Pierre for “Capitol Conversations.”

PIERRE, SD (Dakota News Now) – Student leaders from South Dakota schools – including all four Sioux Falls public high schools – are participating in a project that offers a personal view of local politics.

Other schools involved are Central Andes High School, Bennett County High School, Lyman High School, Todd County High School and Wagner High School.

Students will gather in Pierre on Feb. 14 to meet with lawmakers and other state officials as part of a larger statewide project called Capitol Conversations, according to the Department of Education.

The students are part of the Jobs for American Graduates-South Dakota (JAG-SD) program, a leadership development and career exploration program for middle and high school students.

“During the Feb. 14 event, students will attend committee meetings, tour the House and Senate floors, learn about the judicial branch, learn about lobbying and tour the Capitol.”

“Educational research supports the idea that students remember information learned through hands-on activities better,” said JAG-SD State Director Beth Schneider. “Our efforts should also be focused on helping students understand their roles as informed citizens as well as their leadership responsibilities. That’s why JAG-SD has developed ‘Capitol Conversations.’

JAG has more than 300 student members in South Dakota and 68,000 members nationwide. For more information about starting the JAG program, individuals can contact JAG-SD State Director Beth Schneider.

Previous experience of students

As part of Capitol Conversations, JAG-SD students met for the first time in October 2022 at the Leadership Development Conference, where they learned what it means to lead and represent their peers.

Throughout the fall, the Capitol Conversations project brought together local JAG-SD Professional Associations with various government leaders from their communities. A career association is the extracurricular component of JAG.

The final segment, “Capitol Conversations,” involves students connecting with government leaders from their communities after a legislative session to understand the impact of proposed and enacted laws.

“The South Dakota student body was ready to witness a historic citizen event in May that inspired our students to stand up for their public officers in South Dakota,” Schneider said. “It shows the power of developing young leaders.”

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