Bay Ridge

Visitation students get close-up view of government in action

March 29, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jenna Abi-Habib (fifth from left) won a trip to Albany for her class by winning a student essay contest. The class visited state Sen. Marty Golden in the state capitol. Photo courtesy of Sonia Abi-Habib
Share this:

Sixth-graders from a Bay Ridge Catholic school were treated like VIPs in the state Capitol when they paid a visit to their local lawmaker.

During their recent one-day trip to Albany, the sixth grade class from Visitation Academy, an all-girls school at 8902 Ridge Blvd., got the chance to see the state Senate vote on bills in the Senate chamber and discuss impending legislation.

The girls also spent some time with state Sen. Marty Golden, (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) their local representative.

The class got to make the trip thanks to Jenna Abi-Habib, a student who won an essay contest Golden sponsored last spring. In theme of the essay contest was anti-bullying.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Jenna’s entire class went on the trip, accompanied by several parents, including Jenna’s mom, Sonia Abi-Habib. Carolyn Santangelo, the class social studies teacher, was also in the group.

The girls and their adult companions traveled from Bay Ridge up to Albany by chartered bus. “It was a long ride, about three and a half hours,” Jenna told the Brooklyn Eagle. “Once we got there, we went to Sen. Golden’s office. He spoke to us. It was great to talk to him.”

Jenna was impressed by the architecture of the Capitol building. “It was very detailed. It looked very old and historic,” she said.

Her mother was equally impressed.

“The building is amazing. We take for granted the richness of the architecture of our nation’s buildings. You walk in there and you can feel the history,” Abi-Habib told the Eagle.

Golden assigned an aide to give the Visitation group a tour of the Capitol. The group got to see both the Senate and Assembly chambers.

“There’s a story behind everything,” Abi-Habib said. The large fireplaces in the Senate chamber, for example, are not used to heat the chamber, but are there to provide a private place for senators to go to discuss legislation before voting. “Nobody can hear you there,” she said.

The group got to sit in the Senate chamber and watch the legislative process taking place. It was fun seeing the Senate in session, Jenna said. “They were talking about things they were going to vote on,” she said.

“The girls were very interested in the protocol,” Abi-Habib said.

“When they say ‘yea’ they are voting yes and ‘nay’ means no,” Jenna said.

After the session, the girls posed for a picture with Golden at the desk of the Senate majority leader. Golden also introduced the students to several of his Senate colleagues.

While she enjoyed her trip, Jenna said she’s not dreaming of becoming a state lawmaker when she grows up. “It seems like a lot of work. It’s a lot of travel back and forth between Brooklyn and Albany,” she said.


Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment