On Wednesday morning, in a small rectangular room in an often forgotten hallway of City High, an Iowa congressman spoke to a roomful of iJAG students.
While there, Congressman David Loebsack answered student-posed questions about gun control and the state of agriculture in Iowa.
Lauren Darby, the City High iJAG specialist for ninth and tenth graders, invited Loebsack to visit her class after running into the Congressman in a parking garage in downtown Iowa City, where his political offices are located.
“iJAG is all about advocating for ourselves and advocating for our communities and so having more opportunities to practice that and break down the distance between constituents and representatives is really important,” said Darby. “I want all of my students to feel comfortable speaking to powerful people in this country and their cities so that they know that they have a right to do that.”
Political awareness is a key part of iJAGs curriculum. Every year, iJAG students take a trip to the Iowa State Capitol to lobby for education funding.
“Being civically engaged is one of the core pillars of iJAG. This is kind of just going the next level up. The questions that students asked were very important and very personally felt,” Darby said.
In the past, firefighters, college students, and nurses have all been amongst iJAG’s guest list.