Student Media Press Conference at the Capitol


photo by Tony Mai

Madeline Egerton enjoys her day at the Colorado State Capitol.

Madeline Egerton, Editor-in-Chief

A day at the Colorado State Capitol, you think, would be breathtaking to a little, suburban-raised girl like me. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing here. Since one of my first field trips in elementary school, I’ve always told myself, “That’s the kind of building I’m going to work in one day.” I know incredible things happen in this building, that is has a massive history and I suppose this lack luster feeling comes from my experience.

I am obviously very thankful for today, it’s a first for me and a wonderful one at that. Now, that statement may sound controversial to my previous paragraph. Today consisted of a lovely outing to downtown with my journalism family, gasps and “oohs” and “ahhs” at the outstanding architecture, 15 minutes of “All those in favor say ‘Aye,’” “Aye!” “All those opposed?” “…” “And the ‘Ayes’ have it!” and lastly, several hours of sitting in cheap movie theater-esque seats listening to journalists, doctors and legislative representatives. A lot, right? I prefer the fast paced, scheduled days; less time to dilly dally. Although I have enjoyed today and think of it as more than just missing a day of school, some of the things I heard made steam blow out my ears. Now I’m no Bugs Bunny, so obviously I mean this metaphorically and thankfully I have the restraint to keep myself acting civil during a press conference. But, I gotta tell ya Doc, the things they say on TV about interviewing people is so true, my jaw and teeth are beginning to hurt from all the grinding.

The first real annoyance of the day was sitting in on the House gallery and hearing several bills be adopted. I remember this all the way back in third grade, a whole decade ago, when I first sat in. It was amazing and I loved the concept. I know my cynicality comes with age, but come on people. I listened for 10 minutes about people all agreeing with the bill of creating a new license plate. Really! It’s taken eight years for this to happen? Why? Why did so many people feel the need to voice the support for this? If so many people are in support, what is there to talk about? You already have people saying “Aye” and I doubt anyone would oppose it. Perhaps this is just my angsty, impatient teenage self taking over, but this was the low point of the day. On my way into the room, I was talking with Reagan Anema, one of Arapahoe’s yearbook staffers. “There’s so many people here! I bet they get so much work done.” She said as we were taking our seats. 10 minutes later, we both expressed, at the same time, how frustrating seeing what work was getting done.

The highlight of the day, as I’m sure is obvious, was being apart of a press conference with editorial writer for the Denver Post, Megan Schrader, Colorado Commissioner of Education Dr. Katy Anthes, and Legislative Representatives, Barbara McLachlan and Jim Wilson. I was so excited for what the students would discuss. For the most part, I was impressed with what was being said. My favorite part of the conference had to be when Representatives McLachlan and Wilson were talking. However, this happened to be the most irking part of the day.

I do consider myself a Democrat and much to my surprise that had nothing to do with my face growing redder throughout the conference. The answers that the representatives were what I was expecting from Democratic and Republican representatives. What caused so much aggravation with my friends and I is the questions students were asking that were not pertinent to what actions would be happening now. Or even actions that had much of a standing in Colorado. Putting metal detectors in schools and similar security measures is a discussion that has been floating around, but it is not something that will be happening anytime soon. Something that will be happening in the near future and that will be in the media are the school walkouts, sponsored by several activist groups like Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March. I was pleased to hear question about gun safety and that there was no talk of banning all guns. That isn’t a reasonable idea and a majority of people don’t believe it to be a solution, or even an option. I was shocked that my fellow student journalists weren’t covering the national protests to bring attention to gun safety and school security. As students, that go to school, you would think they’d be concerned with what goes on in their schools and with their fellow students.

Overall, today was incredible. Light was shed onto my beliefs of what it will be like as a non-student journalist, the reason why I want to be a journalist was reinforced as my anger grew today and my thoughts on politics and on how things run have shifted. Nothing about today was negative, despite my satirical take on it. This is an experience I will never forget, and don’t worry, I will most definitely will be following up with legislators about the school walkouts and their positions on gun control. Should be fun considering Arapahoe has experienced a school shooting. *wink*