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Cottonwood Student Works Legislature

Mountain Mail of Socorro, New Mexico

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SOCORRO - A Cottonwood Valley Charter School eighth grader got an up close and personal look at the New Mexico Senate in action when he was asked to be a page for two days dunng the January-February legislative session.

Matthew Lassey, 14, was kept busy on the Senate floor by Senator Sue Beffort of Bernalillo, who first met him during the Martin Luther King Jr., Commission meeting two weeks prior.

"As a page, I helped Senator Beffort with whatever she needed," Matthew said. "Things like taking messages to other senators, getting her water, running little errands while she was in session."

Beffort introduced Matthew on the senate floor Feb. 17, citing his contribution to the organization's annual leadership conference and tour, as well as recognizing him as a gold medal winner at die 2010 regional Science Olympiad, and sole middle school medal recipient in the annual Batde of the Books competition.

Matthew said highlights for him were die passing of House Bill 150, the Hispanic Education Act, and the honoring of Sen. John Pinto, who was presented the Milagro Award for his service as a Navajo code talker, and his many years of advocacy for the Dine nation. Pinto is die longest serving member of the New Mexico senate.

MatuSew said the presentation of die award to Pinto had special significance to him, because he had lived on the Navajo Nation before coming to Socorro.

"It was awesome to see him recognized and to hear the Potato Song," Matthew said.

Matthew first met with Beffort at an Information and Education visit to discuss multicultural education issues.

"I gave a talk about my involvement in die Martin Luther King Commission and diat it was important diat die program keep running," Matthew said.

Executive Director Joella Redmon of die commission introduced Matuiew to Beffort following that meeting.

"Matthew is a very intelligent young man," Redmon said. "One impressive trait is diat he is able to adapt to his surroundings. He's very observant. When he sees whatever is going on, what you're doing, he can fit right into die situation."

Redmon recommended his being a page during the legislative session, which Beffort supported.

"It was based on his interest in government, and especially the cuts diat were being proposed in education and all die things to what Dr. King was all about,' she said.

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Original Publication Date: March 4, 2010

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