Panama Eighth-Grader Addresses Oklahoma Lawmakers At Capitol

PANAMA (KFSM) -- As teachers in Oklahoma continue voicing their concerns about school funding, some local students are doing the same... including eighth-grader, Madison Gregory.

"I have something to say as a student," Gregory told the lawmakers at the capitol.

As she held back tears, Gregory delivered a speech to Oklahoma Senator Mark Allen.

"We are the future of Oklahoma," Gregory said. "Don't you care?"

Gregory was asked by one of her teacher to go to Oklahoma City. With her, she brought a poem that touched every teacher in the room.

"She didn`t even get through the first sentence and I was already crying. To hear a student put it into words, just brings it to heart and to know that they understand," Barbara Williams, Panama Middle School teacher said.

In the poem, Gregory told the senator how the lack of funding and large class sizes keep her and other students from learning.

"It`s hard to get extra one on one attention if I need help with something and I even have to help other students because my teachers need it," Gregory said.

Wesley Arter, also an eighth-grader, also went with teachers to the capitol.

"I was tired of sitting in the classroom and not really getting anything done. We don`t have the right supplies that we need. We don`t have the funding to get anything new," Arter said.

The students and teachers said Senator Allen didn't respond to the poem.

"Senator Mark Allen did not say anything," Gregory said. "Nothing at all."

"It was so frustrating that they would be so heartless and unkind," Arter said.

While the students plan to keep fighting for funding alongside their teachers, they're hoping progress will be made soon.

"I just hope that we get what we need and people won`t have to be in our position or our teachers` position like we are now," Arter said.

The students said they are considering going back to the capitol with their teachers again.

To watch the full video of Madison Gregory's poem, click here.