Honors @ Seminole State

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Final Thoughts on the Republican National Convention by Dominic Homac

Three of us were part of a privileged group of 140 students from around the nation who had the opportunity to attend the Republical National Convention. Fellow students at the convention represented schools as far away as Fairbanks, Alaska, or as close as Hillsborough County. These students came from both two-year and four-year institutions.

On our first day of the seminar leading up to the convention, we were given textbooks that would help guide us through the electoral process. We also were directed to keep a reflective journal with which to make daily entries about what we learned and experienced.

Our experience in Tampa was divided into two weeks. Our first week was spent attending a lecture series by several scholars-in-residence. The speakers included former CNN reporter Aaron Brown, former Senator Mickey Edwards, and two Political Science professors: Dr. Meena Rose of Hofstra University and Dr. Michael Genovese of Layola Marymount University. Each scholar spoke on topics relevant to the upcoming election, from the role of news media in today’s politics to the evolution of the Republican Party.

Divided into groups of 16 students, “small group” sessions complemented each lecture with a review. The professor leading my group, Francis Talty of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, helped make connections between the textbook and what we were soon to experience. We got to tour the forum while it was still being built!

In our second week, with the convention just around the corner, we were put into our field assignments. These assignments were based on one’s specific interest in the electoral process. Coming back from the Salzburg Global Seminar earlier this summer, my placement with the International Republican Institute (IRI) was based on my interest in the international perspective of the convention. The IRI consisted of leaders from around the world. This organization is a coalition of world leaders belonging to parties that subscribe to a center-right agenda. My job as an intern was to guide international delegates between speeches made by Condoleezza Rice, Senator John McCain, Congressman Ron Paul and many others.

I had the opportunity to talk to members of parliament from Iceland, Tanzania, and the Maldives. I asked each representative about what they thought of our electoral process and Romney’s energy policy.

By the end of the week, I had made connections with foreign leaders from around the world and learned and experienced the electoral process. My time in Tampa was unique and enriching. My experience has helped me learn what my values are and how I can pursue them in the future.

I recommend this experience to all students.

Final Thoughts on the Republican National Convention from Joshua Nawrocki

In my first week at Seminole State College, during my Introduction to Honors class with Dr. Socci, I was given the assignment of finding an article to summarize and telling my peers how it relates to my life. For this assignment, I cut out an article about Newt Gingrich in my Wall Street Journal. It discussed the republican debates that were currently taking place, and the prospective nominees. In the paper I wrote for this project, I described my interests, my love of politics and my time on capitol hill; and I ended with an idea, a goal of mine that dated back to my junior year of high school as a Congressional Page, and a single the moment when a John Boehner staffer ran on the floor of the house and said “the convention will be in Tampa”: the goal to attend the Republican National Convention.

I accomplished this goal, and it exceeded my every expectation. Throughout the two weeks of the RNC program, I not only lived my dream, but also along the way met the man in the article, Newt Gingrich, and was reacquainted with the man that first informed me that the RNC would be in Tampa. 

I don’t know if many of the board members know this, but Dr. E. Ann McGee and I are from the same hometown, Largo, Fla., just outside of Tampa. This convention allowed me to see the entire bay area like I had never seen it before. This convention made people proud to be from Tampa, proud to be from Florida, and, in my own case, proud to be Republican.

The two weeks at the RNC program allowed me to become more knowledgeable about the convention process, learn from professors and politicians from around the country and meet contacts from students to senators.

In conclusion, I want to leave you with a quote from Marco Rubio’s speech: “My father stood behind the bar at the back of the room, so one day I could stand behind the podium in the front of the room.” The goal of education is not to teach students how to memorize information quickly; the goal is to better the lives of students, to allow them to have opportunities that their parents never had, and to allow them to be smart, well-informed and productive members of society.  Thank you, Board of Trustees, Dr. McGee and Dr. Socci, and thank you, Representative Dorworth. This opportunity changed my life.

Final Thoughts on the Republican National Convention by Kevin Heckle

It’s pretty amazing how a two week program can affect your outlook on how extraordinary the American political system is. What it takes is an excellent organization committed to the learning experience of its students. And that’s exactly the kind of experience that we got from the Washington Center and at the Republican National Convention.

They provided us with speakers who are leaders in their respective fields. We heard from Aaron Brown, a former anchor for CNN; Congressman Mickey Edwards, a leading republican during the Reagan administration; and Dr. Michael Genovese, one of the foremost political historians. Their lectures created an environment that tested our perceptions of the American political process and expanded how we saw the role of parties in an effective government along with the flaws that went along with them. What they showed us was that change is constant in politics, so what was effective in the last election may not be the same soaring rhetoric that works this time around. They taught us how individuals from different backgrounds can view the American political system in vastly differing ways but could agree on many aspects.

This came to life during the second week of our program. At the Republican National Convention, we met political icons, delegates, and media members from around the country. What we saw was the best that the party had to offer, a culmination of four years of effort and a synthesis of a party that lacked firm direction. It was an electrifying experience that I would recommend for anyone, and I’ve made contacts that I will draw on for the rest of my life. So thank you, Dr. Socci, President E. Ann Mcgee and Seminole State College, for giving us the opportunity to experience history in person.

Sep 1
I had the opportunity to meet Newt and Callista Gingrich before Mr. Gingrich gave a speech on the Reagan Roof Top Deck!
-Josh Nawrocki

I had the opportunity to meet Newt and Callista Gingrich before Mr. Gingrich gave a speech on the Reagan Roof Top Deck!

-Josh Nawrocki

Sep 1
Miss Tampa and me at the Tropicana Field Party! 
-Josh Nawrocki

Miss Tampa and me at the Tropicana Field Party! 

-Josh Nawrocki

Sep 1
-Josh Nawrocki

-Josh Nawrocki

Sep 1
I got to meet Neil Cavuto from Fox News! 
-Josh Nawrocki

I got to meet Neil Cavuto from Fox News! 

-Josh Nawrocki

Sep 1
Sep 1
The Governor of Virginia Robert McDonnell! 
-Josh Nawrocki

The Governor of Virginia Robert McDonnell! 

-Josh Nawrocki

Sep 1
The ballon and confetti drop right after Romney’s big speech! 

The ballon and confetti drop right after Romney’s big speech!