WAPS students participate in 58th Winona Model Legislature

Rep. Gene Pelowski poses with WAPS students holding gavels

Rep. Gene Pelowski, middle, poses with committee chairs, from left, Freyja Wolfe, Jackson Bucknam, Jasper Hedin and Nico Stern.

Sixteen Winona Area Public Schools students participated in the 58th Winona Model Legislature on Nov. 18-19. 

The event, championed and advised by state Rep. Gene Pelowski, a former Winona Senior High School teacher, provides students in Grades 6-12 to walk in the shoes of lawmakers and experience how laws are being made. 

Five Winona Senior High School students held committee chairmanships, including Freyja Wolfe (General Legislation), Nico Stern (Health & Human Services), Jackson Bucknam (Commerce), Jasper Hedin (Judiciary) and Kaylee Peterson (Environmental & Agriculture). 

Hedin authored one of five bills that was passed into law. HF2420 allocated funding to the University of Minnesota for climate research. 

Other bills passed by the Model Legislature, which included students from Cotter and Rushford-Peterson, had to do with distance learning days, a bill passing the Women of Color Opportunity Act, a bill for adoption rights for parents with disabilities and a bill protecting children and vulnerable adults from conversion therapy. 

Other WAPS students who participated included: Nathaniel Dennis, Gussie Gruhlke, Cameron Hancock, Anilese Helgeson, Brayden McDevitt, Caleb Ellenburg, Rachel Lepper, Anna Bricco, Shyla Cole, Alexis Graves and Genevive O’Shea.   

The Winona Model Legislature program started in 1962.