Volney students team with Assemblyman Barclay for mock press conference


Volney Elementary School students recently traded in their winter caps for fedoras and transformed into journalists during a mock political press conference.

Sixth-graders hosted Assemblyman Will Barclay, who fielded dozens of questions posed by the “reporters.” The students peppered the assemblyman with questions about infrastructure, budget, taxes, the Common Core, and nuclear power.

The question-and-answer format simulated an actual press conference. When students were called upon, they stated their name and news organization they represented.

“I was really happy how the press conference went,” said Volney teacher Bill Cahill. “We should be spending our time inspiring students, and that’s what this did.”

According to Cahill, the press conference was a great opportunity for students to develop “life” skills while also exploring political issues and the democratic process. “The students spoke up, they were articulate, they looked (Barclay) in the eye. These are life skills,” he said. “They also learned vocabulary and concepts that are needed for citizenship.”

The assemblyman noted that it is important to be personable, dedicated and hard working to be successful – in politics and in life. When it comes to political success, Barclay told the students that people skills are essential.

“You have to like people … you have to be outgoing,” the assemblyman said. “You also have to have a passion for your area and you have to really want to make a difference. You are going to be the future leaders of our area. I would encourage you to get involved in your community.”