Middle school students lobbying Kansas lawmakers to declare official state rock

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SHAWNEE, Kan. – A group of local middle school students are lobbying to change state history. The students with Monticello Trails Middle School, which is part of the De Soto School District, are headed to Topeka to argue for an official state rock.

Chris Sprenger, an 8th grade student at the school, is determined to make the meteorite the official Kansas state rock.

“The meteorite really has a connection with Kansas that it really doesn’t have with any of the other states in the U.S.,” Sprenger said.

Sprenger and more than 100 other students in the district pitched the bill to Representative Brett Hildabrand.

Lobbying for a state rock has challenged the students across the board. In social studies they’ve learned how bills are passed, in science they’ve learned about geology and rocks and in communication arts they’ve spent hours working on their proposal essays.

“They even did some math to figure out that Kansas does have the most meteorites per square mile,” said Amy Hanna, who teaches Earth and Space at the school.

Hanna said someone proposed a bill to make limestone the official state rock several years ago but it didn’t pass. She said she hopes her students months’ of research and hard work on their proposals will pay off. Seven students, including Sprenger, will head to the state Capitol and pitch their proposals this spring.

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