Visit to the Capitol

East Middle Student's Class Project Leads to Meetings with State Legislators
Posted on 05/19/2023
D'Arriyon Carey portrait

D. Carey portrait

An East Nashville Magnet Middle School student’s class project on rent control led to meetings with state legislators this spring and intensified his interest in a career in politics and public service. 

D'Arriyon Carey, an eighth grader at East Middle, went to the Tennessee State Capitol on March 16 and met with State Rep. Vincent Dixie, who represents District 54 north of the Cumberland River, to advocate for rent control for tenants. It’s a subject D'Arriyon and several classmates had studied for an International Baccalaureate Community Project that all eighth-grade students must complete.

Student with Rep. Justin Jones

The students must identify a problem within a community. D'Arriyon and his group researched rent policy and learned that there are currently no limits to how much rent can be raised in Tennessee, and landlords must only give one week's notice to tenants before increasing their monthly bills.

“A family might be homeless within a week,” D'Arriyon said in an interview at school a couple of weeks after his trip to the Capitol just 2.5 miles away.

D'Arriyon said Dixie has become a mentor. He also met with Rep. Justin Jones of Nashville (during the same session when Jones’ controversial expulsion from and reinstatement to the House of Representatives made international news) and Rep. Sam McKenzie, while Rep. Greg Vital gave him a copy of Tennessee’s 2022 Blue Book, a guide to state government. 

D'Arriyon, 14, said he enjoys politics, finds it interesting and plans on pursuing it once he’s old enough to vote and run for office.

“It really turns my mindset onto how I can help my community,” he said. “I’m thinking about going all the way to D.C.”

Bruce Jackson, East Middle’s executive principal, said the school is proud of D'Arriyon for “his bravery and willingness to advocate for such an important community issue!”

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