WASHINGTON, D.C. - Chariho High School sophomore Paige Pajarillo, 15, engages in many activities that are common for girls her age, such as reading, playing sports and spending time with her friends. However, she got the chance to do something last week that very few high school girls can say they have.
In recognition of her participation in the 2011 National Youth Leaders Conference, Pajarillo met with U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) on Thursday, July 21. The program, for which she was nominated by her ninth grade Spanish teacher, is a nine-day conference in Washington, D.C. organized by the Congressional Youth Leadership Council, and gives students the opportunity to interact with government leaders.
“In this course, I learned a lot about the government and what it takes to be a leader, not only in general, but for a community, a state or even a country,” Pajarillo said. “In the nine day period, I learned what characteristics a leader needs to have and other important knowledge, such as how congress is run, how a bill becomes a law and how the constitution can be interpreted.”
She was the only Rhode Islander in the conference, and said that she enjoyed meeting different people and learning about them. She also enjoyed debating different topics and having her opinion heard.
While Pajarillo may be young, she understands how great of an opportunity this was for her and took full advantage of meeting a congressman.
“Spending one-on-one time with a congressman is really interesting,” she said. “I mean, how many people can say that they have actually talked to their representative? It made me feel confident that I did have a voice for my district and that I could make a difference.”
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