From Social Security to legalizing marijuana, students in the northeast got to question a senator Friday.
Senator John Thune visited Groton School to find out what issues matter to teens. His request to students was simple; get involved and serve with character.
"When he says wake up each morning putting others before yourself, that it's not all about you, I feel like that could help me as well as other people," senior Cheyenne Schaller said.
Students from multiple northeast districts discussed issues with each other. They also asked Thune his stances on those issues.
"It gives me an idea of what's on the minds of young people here in South Dakota. But hopefully it’s also an opportunity to share with them some of my views and to better represent them," Thune said.
The student cracker barrel is a non-partisan, ongoing event which started this year in Groton. Former congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin spoke with students in November. Event organizers expect Governor Dennis Daugaard and former Governor Mike Rounds in the future.
Whether it's a Republican like Thune speaking or a Democrat like Herseth-Sandlin, students are hearing it's not too early to make a difference. Senior Regan Lewandowski plans to teach when she's older. She helped Friday lead a discussion about teacher pay.
"I personally think the wages should be increased for teachers so people can stay here," Lewandowski said.
Others may come with a different point of view. Either way, students are hearing, the time to engage each other and leaders in the state regarding these topics is now.