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The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

Lieutenant Governor sparks Park

Peggy Flanagan facilitates discussion
Lieutenant+Governor+and+Park+graduate+Peggy+Flanagan+speaks+to+sophomore+Honors+English+students+Dec.+13.+The+discussion+focused+on+Flanagans+experiences+and+her+connection+to+both+Park+and+the+Indigenous+community.
Abby Keller
Lieutenant Governor and Park graduate Peggy Flanagan speaks to sophomore Honors English students Dec. 13. The discussion focused on Flanagan’s experiences and her connection to both Park and the Indigenous community.

Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, Peggy Flanagan, spoke to 10th grade students about her lived experience and upbringing as an Indigenous person on Dec. 13. Flanagan facilitated a discussion with English teacher Andrew Carlson’s Honors English students and informed them about her connection to the community.

10th grade Honors English students are currently working on Native American research projects. According to sophomore Claire Patterson, Flanagan’s connection to the Indigenous community was beneficial to her research.

“She’s Native American and we’re learning about the Native American culture, that (connection) was cool,” Patterson said. “We’re doing research projects (and) she helped with that.”

Flanagan said she wanted to make students feel represented in the school space and raise awareness to the Indigenous community beyond a historical lens.

“My goal was to let people know about this role and position, but also, too often when we talk about Native American people, we are stuck in a historical context and are not seen as contemporary people or leaders,” Flanagan said. “Anytime that I can bring my Indigenous self into a space, I think it helps other indigenous students (and) students generally so they can see that we’re still here, we’ve always been here and we’re not going anywhere.”

Sophomore Tess Machalek said the discussion gave her background on Flanagan’s work. Machalek said she was impressed by Flanagan’s impact on the Indigenous community.

“I learned the accomplishments she’s had and what she’s done for the Native community here in St. Louis Park and Minnesota, and that’s really great and impressive stuff,” Machalek said. 

Representation matters and that’s why it’s important to share my story.”

— Peggy Flanagan

Patterson said the discussion taught her about the realities of what it means to be a woman in office based on Flanagan’s story.

“(Flanagan) talked a lot about women empowerment—about how women are heard in government and that was cool,” Patterson said. “She (talked about) how she felt small in the government.”

Flanagan said diversity in government helps communities feel more represented. She said she shares her story to represent her community.

“It matters that you can see yourself reflected in leaders, our current elected officials are more diverse than ever before,” Flanagan said. “I think that’s good for democracy because when you accurately reflect the community you seek to represent, democracy is stronger and you get better results. Representation matters and that’s why it’s important to share my story.”

Machalek said Flanagan’s lived experience helped them to better reflect on and connect to their classroom research.

“(The discussion) helped to give a connection to what we’ve been learning to a real person’s experience, a real change maker’s experience in living her life,” Machalek said.

Flanagan said she was grateful to have been able to be part of the Park community, and was appreciative of the questions asked by students. 

“I appreciated a lot of the questions. They’re incredibly thoughtful,” Flanagan said. “Park students, we’ve got an incredible community here and I was just really happy to be able to be a part of it for this hour and (to) hear from young people.”

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Alicia Mainjeni, Entertainment Editor
Hey y’all! My name is Alicia and I am the Entertainment editor for the second semester of the 2023-24 school year :). I am a junior and this is my third year as a staffer. In my free time you can find me making jewelry, running around on stage, being an academic homework nerd or laughing until I cry. I am so excited to contribute to this wonderful paper for yet another year. I can't wait to center student voice and inform students about topics that involve them.
Abby Keller, Managing Editor
Hi there! I’m Abby Keller. This is my third year on Echo. I am a senior and a Managing Editor for Echo. When I’m not working on Echo, you can find me spending time with friends, napping, or working in the paint department at Menards. I am so excited to work with everyone in Echo, making this year our best yet. 

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    Dr. Siphiwe MainjeniDec 18, 2023 at 9:50 pm

    So impressive to read thank you for sharing your knowledge about the subject discussed so invigorating to read. Young people are our future leaders when they take leadership roles we feel good and also appreciate their roles in societal realms. Stay strong and continue to be aspiring leaders. Good job

    Reply