On February 24, Genoa Middle School 8th graders Anna Borders, Sarah Gellner, Danielle Ingram, Rachel Kaufman, and Adriane Thompson traveled to the Ohio Statehouse to give testimony before the State Government Committee in support of a bill they proposed and have pending in the Ohio House of Representatives. House Bill 143, which proposes making the barn the official historical architectural structure of the State of Ohio, was created when the girls were 7th graders and introduced to the House by Representative Anne Gonzales. Over the last year, the girls have been working mail, email and calling campaigns and have developed a grassroots social media campaign via website, Twitter and Facebook to garner support.
“Making the barn a symbol of Ohio would not only help to raise awareness of the barn because of its achievements and historical value, it would also help to preserve these monumental representations of Ohio,” Thompson testified. The students further pointed out that barns are significant because they are all over the state and have served important purposes in Ohio’s development. The first school in Westerville, they mentioned, was held in a barn.
Following testimony, committee members commented about how impressed they were with the girls’ dedication in pursuing their bill. “I want to commend the level and quality of your research in your presentation today,” said District 17 Representative Michael F. Curtin. “It runs counter to what we hear so much about low levels of civic education.”
As awareness and support increases throughout the state of Ohio, the girls are asking for support from the Westerville Community by visiting their website at www.ohiobarnbill.weebly.com or their twitter feed at twitter.com/ohiobarnbill.