Sophomore joins 20 Iowa students in Capitol Project

Back in mid-February CFHS sophomore Michael Flanscha travelled to the Iowa Capitol for the annual Capitol Project, a self-nominated program where only 20 students are selected by the Secretary of State. Once chosen the students travel to Des Moines for a four-day learning program that deals with how the government works.


Sophomore Michael Flanscha

The application process consisted of “a short biography of myself, a summary of my interest in Capitol Project and a letter of recommendation from a teacher,” Flanscha said.

CFHS social studies teacher Chad Van Cleve assisted Flanscha by writing him a letter of recommendation. “It wasn’t that hard. I have [Flanscha], and he’s an exceptional student,” Van Cleve said.

Once in Des Moines, Flanscha and his fellow Capitol Project companions had dinner with Gov. Terry Branstad, then lunch with our local legislators and then the chance to see how an idea became a bill and then became a law.

During this time Flanscha and the other 19 students were divided into groups in which they were to come up with an idea for a bill. From there they organized it and wrote it out to present and debated upon by all the groups.

Flanscha recalled “drafting the bill [to be] the most challenging step in the process. It was difficult making sure that all components were stated clearly in our proposed legislation.”

Though the Capitol Project’s main goal is to inform students on how the government works if they are considering a career in government and politics, there are some other goals that it hit as well. According to Van Cleve the project helps enforce leadership skills while also teaching two major roles in society and in life: the “practical reasons being interest [in something] and citizen role [in the world],” Van Cleve said.

Flanscha has always been interested in government and politics because “I believe that it’s important to be informed about government policy and how it affects our daily lives.”

He also said that his dad also played into his interest and inspiration to want to go into in politics and government after he graduates. Flanscha’s is unsure of his plans after college, but “wants to enter a career in politics.”

He encourages others to apply for the Capitol Project program. “You never know if you’ll be accepted. It’s a chance to experience the government in action,” Flancha said. “This experience increased my interest in politics because it exposed me to government in action at our Capitol in Des Moines. [The project also] reinforced my belief it is important to be involved in society.”

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