Out of the thousands of teachers all over the country, only 46 were chosen to participate in the House of Representatives Fellows Program last month in Washington D.C. The office of the Historian of the U.S. House of Representatives made the selection.
According to Deputy House Historian, Dr. Fred W. Beuttler, “the teachers will experience the House firsthand and then return to their respective schools to share their insights with their students, fellow teachers, and administrators.”
The program began in 2006 and is highly competitive to get into which has hosted over 75 teachers who have influenced over 10,000 students.
Viking teacher, Darrick Hayman was one of the select few who had the opportunity to visit the country’s capital where he learned more about the history of the House of Representatives and met with elected officials, including Rep. Rick Larsen, (D-Washington).
“Meeting Rep. Rick Larsen and Sen. Patty Murray was great, but also seeing important members of Congress like Senators Chris Dodd and John Kerry and Rep. Barney Frank just walking down the hall was a tremendous experience. It was like being backstage at a rock concert,” Hayman said. “We met with Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. This man marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and fought for civil rights during the 1960s. His work to bring equality to all races in truly made this country a better place to live.”
Hayman, teaches U.S. History, A.P. Government and Politics and English at Lake Stevens High School.
“While there I met with Rep. Rick Larsen, Sen. Patty Murray, and staffers from Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office,” Hayman said. “We also met with Rep. John Lewis, Rep. John Larson and Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner.” The entire week was a once in a lifetime experience for Hayman who intends to use much of what he learned in his teaching local students.
“This is the best professional development experience I have had in my eleven years of teaching.,” he said. “I am excited to bring back the experiences that I have had to the students in our community as well as share the vast amount of information I received with my LSHS colleagues.”
Seeing first hand, how the Senate and Congress work together was an eye-opening experience.
“What surprised me the most was the relationship between the House and the Senate. So often we think of Congress as one body pitted against the President. But really Congress is two bodies, the House and the Senate and while those two bodies are part of the same branch of government, they operated independent of the other,” he said.
Hayman is excited to be able to share his experience with his students and to be able to teach them all he learned from the rare opportunity he was given.
“I think that the best thing that I brought out of this experience that will have an impact on our students is my excitement about the entire experience,” he said. “This was like nerd camp! I had so much fun filling my head with information about our government, but also getting to go through the experience itself. Bringing that enthusiasm to the classroom is a way that I can hook students on the importance of government and history.”