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A once in a lifetime opportunity

Rosemount's Kelsey Cook got to meet Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson.

Some Rosemount teens got the opportunity of a lifetime last week. Former attorney general Mike Hatch gave them a personal tour of the Minnesota State Capitol building. The teens also got to talk with and take a picture with current attorney general Lori Swanson.

"It was so powerful and impacting on these kids," said Shira Rabinowicz, the volunteer coordinator for the Rosemount Family Resource Center. With the help of volunteers the center put together the trip to St. Paul.

The middle school and high school students all belong to a teen group at the center that encourages them to seek their dreams despite obstacles and to establish healthy relationship in their lives. They've had a number of speakers come to the center but nothing quite compared to their trip to the capitol.

"It was really cool," said Kelsey Cook, who will start eighth grade at Rosemount Middle School this fall.

Hatch took more than an hour to show the group around the capitol, including the governor's office, Supreme Court rooms the senate and house of representatives chambers and the media room.

"I thought the media room was cool," said Erin Brown, one of the teens who went on the trip.

Brown said it was really cool to see the capitol up close and personal and to hear all the stories about how it was built.

"He knew every nook and cranny," said Rabinowicz.

Hatch also shared his story with the teens and encouraged them to reach beyond what seems possible, said Rabinowicz.

"It was so special," said Rabinowicz. "He planted the seeds in their heads that they can do whatever they want."

Cook said her favorite part of the trip was getting to take a picture with Swanson. Cook said her mom bought a special frame to put the picture in.

"She's really important and does a lot to help the state," said Cook about Swanson.

Cook learned that Swanson's office gets more than 800 phone calls a day

Cook said Swanson asked each of the teens what profession they wanted to go into. And then offered encouraging words.

"She told us to go to school for a long time," said Cook.

Cook, who wants to be a private investigator, said she was inspired by Swanson.

Center volunteer Ray Martin, who chaperoned the trip, said he thinks the opportunity was special for the kids.

"I think they felt better about themselves afterward," said Martin.

Putting the day trip together was no small task. James Fahey, an attorney and volunteer with the center, put together the tour but they needed transportation to get up there. Rabinowicz said she called around and eventually Mary Mother of Church in Burnsville was able to get them a bus.

"It took a village to get this going," said Rabinowicz.

The trip was well worth the work though said Rabinowic.

"It was a once in a lifetime opportunity," she said.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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