Alyssa Biollo and Angus Morrison are grade 11 students at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School. Photo by Scott Strasser.

Mark R. Isfeld students heading to Ottawa for national student forum

Two Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School students will be heading to the nation’s capital this year to get a behind-the-scenes look at Canadian politics.

The Forum for Young Canadians is a week-long program that teaches 15- to 19-year-old students in Canada how the federal government operates. The forum takes place in Ottawa three times per year and is run by a non-partisan organization.

Grade 11 Isfeld students Alyssa Biollo and Angus Morrison will both take part in the forum this year. Biollo will head to Ottawa next week from Jan. 28 until Feb. 2 for the program’s first session of 2018, while Morrison will attend a later session from March 18–23.

The 300 students from across Canada who attend the forum will participate in various activities and sit through presentations on politics, policy and international trade. The students undergo simulations on election campaigns, cabinet sessions, a high-stakes trade simulation, and a supreme court session.

Students also attend a breakfast with Senators, visit Rideau Hall and Parliament, and attend an evening reception with various MPs.

“There’s a lot of hands-on experience that we’ll get there,” said Biollo.

Biollo said Isfeld teacher Ms. Heidi Zirkl was the catalyst for convincing her and Morrison to apply.

“She’s always giving us ideas for things to do outside of school. She was helpful throughout the entire process and pretty much got us the opportunity,” said Biollo.

Morrison, who said he has always been interested in politics, said he is most looking forward to visiting Ottawa for the first time.

“I’ve never been to Ottawa before, so I’m looking forward to learning about the government, exploring the city and learning about the history of Canada,” he said.

Just over half of Biollo and Morrison’s travel costs and program fees ($500 each) is being funded by a bursary from Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School.

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