When the guests of Senator Leo Housakos entered the Parliament of Canada and went through security, a Nintendo DS triggered the metal detector. Can you imagine a guest of the Senate in possession of such an article on him? Think again.
Following the launch of the Senators in Schools program – a new initiative where senators visit schools in their home province to explain how Parliament works – senators thought it was equally important to invite students from Primary and Secondary schools to the Senate.
After all, what better place to learn about Parliament than in the Red Chamber itself? Thus, on May 17, 2017, Senator Housakos welcomed Grade 6 students from Socrates-Demosthenes School Campus II.
As a Montrealer of Greek descent himself, the senator welcomed the students to Parliament – for many, their first visit – and in the language they probably spoke at home. The students clearly understood the connection with their home.
“It was really cool to meet with Senator Housakos. He is a fan of the Habs, like me too,” said Avyeris. In fact, while most came to the Senate without knowing what it was, many came out with the ambition of becoming senators in turn.
“Everyone can give their opinion here, because they are actually trying to reach agreements – it’s not like children arguing at school,” Christopher said.
The students were given the opportunity to learn more about the work, the building and its traditions, while Senator Housakos guided them through a newly published Senate questionnaire.
“This is a first experience for them, and even teachers did not know all the answers to the questionnaire,” said Georgia Tsakalis, the director of Campus II. “When they return to their class tomorrow, they will certainly be able to speak more deeply about the Parliament of Canada. “
The visit combined education and inspiration.
Referring to a portrait of King George VI hanging in the foyer of the Senate, Senator Housakos told the students about the monarch’s battle against his stuttering.
“If he was able to overcome his personal challenges and lead his country through a world war, then you can also accomplish whatever you really want,” he said.
He pointed out that the Senate belongs to all Canadians. “This is your place, I work for you,” said Senator Housakos to the students. “So just call me, if you have a problem!” “
All we have to do now is look out for the next senator who comes directly from our school.