Dulce Martinez: Day 2 (Friday, June 15, 2013)
On our second day in Austin, the Junior Fellows had the rare chance to meet former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed Justice O’Connor, who became the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court. She is a true glass ceiling breaker for women across this nation.
The event was a small private gathering, which gave the atmosphere in the room a sense of relaxation and openness. She spoke for an hour, providing interesting details about her start in public service and her career as a Justice.
What was most fascinating was listening to her speak passionately about the lack of civics education in schools today.
Justice O’Connor took this a chance to express the importance of becoming involved in our government and the initiative she has taken to deliver free civics education to schools as well as individuals.
The Junior Fellows felt truly honored to be present in front of such an extraordinary person who broke the boundaries and set the bar high for the next generations.
And while that was the highlight of our day, it was a day filled with many activities. We started the day with a tour of the Texas Capitol Building, seeing the member offices, the House of Representatives…
the Senate, and the grounds…
In continuation of exploring the diversity the city of Austin has to offer, the Junior Fellows discovered two different restaurants well-known to Austinites; Frank and Angie’s Pizzeria and Kerbey Lane Cafe. Frank and Angie’s is small local business, famous for their fresh Italian pizzas. It got its name from famous Italian-American singer Frank Sinatra and one of the owner’s mothers. The décor pays tribute to Sinatra and his music, while the food stays true to its Italian flavors. Kerbey Lane Cafe, where we had dinner, is also an Austin original. It offers a wide range of dishes perfect for every taste, from Greek Chicken to Tex-Mex Enchiladas, and much in between.
Our learning also took place in the classroom, where various campaign professionals led seminars on “Campaign Management” and Volunteer Supervision.” We also broke into teams today, and we began the very beginning stages of the campaign plans we will present to campaign professionals on Sunday.
One of the last events of the day for the Junior Fellows was a tour of the UT Tower. Before the tour, the Junior Fellows visited the Tower Garden. The garden is a memorial site to the victims of the tragic shooting from the top of the tower in August 1966. The tour started with a rather quiet (but quick, one floor per second) elevator ride up to the 27th floor. Once on the observation deck, right below the clock level, guides shared with us some of the history of the tower, which was originally built to serve as a library for the University of Texas.
The deck offered a beautiful panoramic view of the city. The most prominent view the Tower provided was an unobstructed view of the Texas Capitol, the sight of which in the evening was a sensational way to end our second day in the Texas capital.