Tisbury School students visit Rep. Fernandes at the State House

The Tisbury School Student Council visited the State house took last Thursday for a tour and a Q & A with Rep. Fernandes. —Courtesy Tisbury School

Students from the Tisbury School student council spent the day on April 27 on Beacon Hill touring the State House, sitting in on an informal session where they learned about the legislative process, and eating lunch in the State House Library with their own representative, Dylan Fernandes.

“This group of students is really dedicated to our student council. We wanted to give them an exciting opportunity to expand their interests in government and civil service,” said Jane Taylor, one of three faculty advisors for the group.

According to a press release, students organized a mock election for Tisbury School students this fall, and followed the results closely. “They saw an opportunity, and wrote letters to Rep. Fernandes, asking to meet with him at the State House,” said Joanie Creato, another faculty advisor. “Representative Fernandes’ office could not have been more receptive, and made the process easy.”

The students had a Q and A with Mr. Fernandes. Tisbury associate principal Sean Mulvey said, “The students were impressed that Mr. Fernandes spent so much time with them, answered all of their questions, and related to them on a personal level. His passion for his work definitely made an impression upon them, and likely inspired some to consider a career in politics.”

During lunch the students asked Mr. Fernandes questions about how he plans to improve Martha’s Vineyard (by expanding access to affordable housing and making it a more accessible place for everyone), which politicians inspired him to run (Elizabeth Warren and Maura Healey), and what his favorite sports team is (the Bruins).

Rebecca Silva enjoyed the Great Room in the State House. “There is a flag for each town in Massachusetts. I thought that was really cool.”

The informal session that students sat in on was Oliver Dorr’s highlight. “I liked being there and seeing how fast it moves. I thought it was much slower.”

“I like that Representative Fernandes spent a lot of time with us,” Ben Mulvey said. “We asked him a lot of questions, and he really wanted to talk with us.”

Overall, many students said this was a high point in their school year.

“Civic engagement and understanding the political process is foundational to our democracy, and this bright group of students from the Tisbury School makes me feel good about our future,” said Rep. Fernandes. “I encourage all Island schools to come visit the State House!”