First ND Student Cabinet Held at State Capitol

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Children often feel that their voices aren't heard when decisions are made regarding their school lives. Now, some students are getting the opportunity to change that.

Twenty students from Grand Forks to Beach and everywhere in between descended on the state capitol to take part in North Dakota's first Student Cabinet. The cabinet will advise lawmakers and the Department of Public Instruction on bills and policy issues.

"The decisions that are made, really affect us more than anybody, and so, it's good for us to help make those decisions," said Molly Farstveet, Lincoln Elementary School sixth-grader.

The students' 15 month term on the cabinet begins today with a meeting at the state library."

The cabinet includes fourth-graders all the way up to a high school senior.

"To have that diversity of ideas, and to have that diversity on the student cabinet, will allow me to really collect all of that information and create good policy," North Dakota State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler

Lindsey Pouliot is the only senior on the cabinet and will be attending NDSU for the majority of her term.

"To pass that information on to someone that can make sure that students won't have the same problems I will, will just make it a smoother transition for those students and make life a little less stressful," said Pouliot.

Other concerns of the cabinet include the use of technology in the classroom, access to advanced courses and improving teaching styles.

Ethan Wood, Lincoln Elementary: "For some kids in some of our classes, probably during math class just sat there picking at their shoes. Now, we have a chance to change how we learn," said fourth-grader Ethan Wood, Lincoln Elementary School in Lincoln, N.D.

The first meeting's agenda included funding for early childhood education, the mandatory civics test and this session's failed concealed carry bill.

The cabinet hopes to meet at least four times each year around the state in person or possibly electronically using Skype.

North Dakota Cabinet Students:

Bryer Samuelson, a fourth-grader at Sunnyside Elementary, Minot
Ethan Wood, a fourth-grader at Lincoln Elementary, Lincoln
Delaney Vilhauer, a fifth-grader at Rita Murphy Elementary, Bismarck
Molly Farstveet, a sixth-grader at Lincoln Elementary, Beach
Grace Vetter, a sixth-grader at Cathedral Grade School, Bismarck
Skylar Strand, a seventh-grader at Wachter Middle School, Bismarck
Isaac King, a seventh-grader at Horizon Middle School, Bismarck
Maggie Oberlander, an eighth-grader at Valley City Junior/Senior High School, Valley City
Sophie Lind, an eighth-grader at Mandan Middle School, Mandan
Thomas Iken, an eighth-grader at Wachter Middle School, Bismarck
Hannah Iron Eyes, a ninth-grader at Century High School, Bismarck
Francie Shaft, a ninth-grader at Red River High School, Grand Forks
Lynna Ngo, a 10th-grader at South High School, Fargo
Dawson Schefter, a 10th-grader at Langdon Area High School, Langdon
Peyton Cole, an 11th-grader at Park River Area High School, Park River
Cole Garman, an 11th-grader at Mandan High School, Mandan
Madelyn Jean, an 11th-grader at Hankinson Public School, Hankinson
Collin Poolman, an 11th-grader at Century High School, Bismarck
Philip Meidinger, an 11th-grader at Kenmare Public School, Kenmare
Lindsey Pouliot, a 12th-grader at Beulah High School, Beulah