What Former THSC Watchmen Are Saying

Stephen Howsley – 2015 THSC Watchmen Team

Current THSC Position: Public Relations Manager and Grassroots & Advocacy Coordinator

Stephen Howsley – 2015 THSC Watchmen Team“Looking back, had you asked me two years ago, I would not have even known what a public policy analyst was, and this is part of why it is so obvious that God has placed me in this position within THSC. None of this would have been possible if I had not first been accepted into the Watchmen program. Despite being what I thought was incredibly unqualified for the position, I was asked to join the 2015 team after completing an application and undergoing an interview. The internship was unlike anything I had ever attempted to do before, and I learned so much from it. As the Public Relations Manager, it was my job to maintain our database of media contacts and ensure that the public knew what was happening behind the scenes in Austin as we fought for the rights of families and homeschoolers. I learned so much about how to interface with legislator offices and how to conduct myself within the capitol. I believe that I was challenged to own my responsibilities and to push through hardships to get the job done. Nearing the end of the 2015 legislative session, I interviewed for a policy analyst position on the public policy team. By God’s grace, I was hired part-time to work 30 hours a week with the team, and I could not be happier or more blessed in any other job. Working with the Watchmen and with the THSC team has challenged me to think creatively and to develop solutions in ways that I had never practiced before. The Watchmen Internship changed my life, and I cannot wait to continue to work with future teams as THSC continues to grow and accomplish more.”

Gregory Guggenmos – 2015 THSC Watchmen Team

“During my time with the Watchmen, I grew tremendously in my ability to think critically and confidently communicate with respected politicians and business leaders. Being around an amazing group of friends intent on making Texas a better place for homeschool students was so important in my maturing as an adult and a man of God. The work was challenging, there were a lot of late nights and early mornings, but it was extremely interesting and continued to engage me during the entire session. There is no better way of serving the homeschool community or introduction to the field of politics.”

Nathan Exley – 2013 THSC Watchmen Team

Nathan Exley – 2013 THSC Watchmen Team“Serving as a Watchman was a fun, memorable, and productive time for me. It made waves in our state’s legislature; we helped kill HB 1148 and SB 303, plus we were covered by K-EYE TV, KUT Public News Radio, and the Austin American Statesman. Not a dull session at all! Perhaps more importantly, I came out competent to understand, navigate, and meaningfully influence the legislative process.”

Jeremy Newman – 2013 THSC Watchmen Team

Current THSC Position: THSC Public Policy Director

“Being a part of the first THSC Watchmen team stretched me significantly. We worked late nights and long hours, brainstormed bill language and strategy, sorted through thousands and thousands of bills, and had to learn to handle both praise and criticism from people all over the state. While each of those things stretched me mentally and emotionally, there was probably nothing that I appreciated more about the experience than the completely unwavering focus that was placed on operating with integrity and seeking God constantly for direction and strength. I was blessed with being hired on as THSC’s Policy Director after that first session and subsequently leading the second team of THSC Watchmen in 2015. From both sessions, I made friendships that were tested under immense pressure which taught me things about myself I had not known before. The relationships, intense responsibility, criticism, praise, and high standards of quality have served to shape me very significantly. Additionally, the professional connections that are made without question open the door to countless future opportunities. My first session with the Watchmen and all of my involvement with the program since remains one of the highlight experiences of my life.”

Trent Williams – 2013 THSC Watchmen Team

Trent Williams – 2013 THSC Watchmen Team“THSC’s Watchman program launched my political career. It wasn’t until the next legislative session, when I was working for State Representative Molly White, that I realized the advantages the Watchman program had given me. It isn’t a coffee-fetching internship. Every member of the team is a registered lobbyist. Each Watchman works in real time and watches their influence shape the future of Texas. Nothing teaches you the intricate political game like interning and lobbying as a THSC Watchman”

Joshua Newman – 2015 THSC Watchmen Team

Joshua Newman – 2015 THSC Watchmen Team“When I joined the 2015 THSC Watchmen team, I did not know exactly what to expect. Since I had known the members of the previous team, however, I had heard a lot about the program and was excited by the opportunity to participate. I could never have guessed the extent to which the program would change me and the extent of everything I would learn.

As the Grassroots Coordinator for the team, one of my main responsibilities was to keep the public informed about the important bills we worked on and organize grassroots responses when an important hearing or vote was coming up. Being a part of the Watchmen team gave me some of the basic experience and skills that are needed for any career such as managing time effectively, sticking with important projects until they are finished, and demonstrating professional conduct. Beyond this, however, I learned the ins and outs of the legislative process, I learned many of the ways in which private citizens can become effective contributors to their own governmental process, I learned of countless character weaknesses in myself and ways to overcome them, I gained a much greater respect for how much it can cost someone to serve as an elected official, I learned how to apply critical thinking to real-life situations, and perhaps most important of all, I made friendships that will last a lifetime. To anyone considering this program in future, I would say only this: do it! It will be tough, but it is one decision you will never regret.”

Isaac Sommers – 2015 THSC Watchmen Team

“Working with THSC through the Watchmen program was an incredible experience. As one of the Watchmen, I was able to interface with dozens of state representatives and senators, negotiate changes to and testify on bills, and work with my fellow Watchmen – each of whom I’m blessed to call a friend – to advocate for legislation beneficial to the homeschool community, and to block legislation that would jeopardize our rights. THSC is a great organization that provides significant benefits to families all across the state, and serving with them as a Watchman not only gave me valuable internship, legislative, and advocacy experience, but allowed me to give back to a community through which I’ve been greatly blessed.”

Paul Exley – 2017 THSC Watchmen Team

“If you are looking for a pause in between high school and college, an internship for a job application in any legal field, something for the resume before applying to law school, the THSC Watchmen Program certainly fits the bill as an opportunity to make you stand out on any application as well as an individual. Working as a THSC Watchmen will provide you with a perspective afforded to very few as well as the opportunity to impact the lives of Texan families and children for years to come. The contacts made, relationships built and experiences gained while working a legislative session to protect the rights and freedoms of families in Texas will be invaluable for your future, as no matter what career you end up choosing, you will always have the ability and knowledge of how to influence our government process for the better.”

Josiah Newman – 2017 THSC Watchmen Team

Josiah Newman – 2017 THSC Watchmen Team“When I joined the Watchmen program I didn’t fully realize how great of an experience it would be. I can say with confidence it was one of the best decisions I made in the first 20 years of my life. Not only was I able to contribute significantly to the protection of family freedom in Texas with people who I’m glad to say have become my best friends, but I found that the entire experience was tremendously positive, building myself up to be a different person at the end of the session. I now have an improved perspective on certain aspects of life that will help me pursue my goals in the future. I would highly recommend the Watchmen program for just about anybody. While I believe it is healthy for every citizen to be active in politics to a degree, I have next to no interest in getting involved in politics long term or full time. So I can say this program is a great experience and opportunity for a wide variety of people with many different future plans and current situations.”

Vida Mata – 2017 THSC Watchmen Team

Vida Mata – 2017 THSC Watchmen Team“The Watchmen program has been truly one of the most enlightening things I have done up to this point. It has given me such a new and different perspective on politics and government, as well as taught me so much about the ins and outs of the legislative process. It has been such an educational experience, boosted my resume tons, as well as allowed me to give back to my homeschool community.”

Emma Little – 2017 THSC Watchmen Team

Emma Little - 2017 THSC Watchmen Team“I have loved my time as a Watchmen. I have grown in new and unexpected ways and faced challenges that have pushed me to cultivate previously dusty skills. It challenged me to work through difficulties: perseverance in the face of exhaustion, and resilience in the face of opposition.The Watchmen program threw me into the legislative arena in a practical and positive way; I was able to both learn new skills and implement them in a constructive manner. Team building, dedication, persistence, time management- these are only a handful of the abilities the Watchmen program fostered. If you want to be a Watchmen, know this: you will experience joy and sorrow, exhaustion and exaltation, growth and change. Joy when your bills progress, sorrow when they stall. Exhaustion from the late nights and exultation when your work culminates into a favorable outcome. Growth when you navigate team partnerships and legislative relationships and change when you adapt to compromise. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for their first foray into the legislature or to deepen their understanding of the political process.”

Anna Little – 2017 THSC Watchmen Team

Anna Little – 2017 THSC Watchmen Team“Initially, I chose to join the Watchmen team as a test. If I enjoyed the government work, I would pursue it as a career. My only objective was to gain professional insight. I had no idea that I would leave not only with a strong belief in the benefits of activism, but with convictions to serve the rights and freedoms of people for as long as possible. Many say that the Watchmen Program is the perfect opportunity to learn about lobbying or to add something fascinating to your resume. This is true, but not an absolutely accurate picture of what the program has to offer. This program can offer you the opportunity to grow in any way you choose. It will afford you the opportunity to gain perspective on government, legislative processes, and your own talents and abilities. It will offer the opportunity for you to be stretched in any and every way possible. The wonderful thing about the program is that, because of the type of work, your opportunities to learn and experience new things are endless. You will get to meet with legislators, amend bill language, and acquire a growing conviction to speak up for what is right. You’ll learn to persevere despite opposition. You will learn the benefits of working on a team, and how to be a Christ-like team member. You will have the opportunity to gain a new family of brothers and sisters striving to protect freedoms in the name of Christ.

The Watchmen Program isn’t just a resume builder, nor is it simply an opportunity to learn to lobby effectively. It is the potential to spark a career in politics or public service. It is the foundational possibility that says that whatever you think you are capable of is actually so much more. Being a THSC Watchmen will brighten your future and expand your horizons; but, this is all dependent upon how you use its vast opportunities. This responsibility is exactly what makes the Watchmen program invaluable. It is a vessel on an ocean of possibility but maintains that you must direct the sails.”

Meagan Corser – 2017 THSC Watchmen Team

Meagan Corser – 2017 THSC Watchmen Team“I cannot recommend the Watchmen program highly enough. During the 2015 legislative session, I had the opportunity to observe the previous Watchmen team’s leadership in their work to analyze and advocate for family rights. From that point onward, I knew that, God-willing, I wanted to be part of the fight for family rights and homeschooling as well. As it turns out, God was indeed willing. It was an incredible blessing to have to opportunity to serve on the Watchmen team during the 2017 legislative session. The highlights included analyzing legislation, working with legislators and their staff, coordinating with various judges, attorneys, and organizations to amend legislation, drafting amendment language, and advocating for real-world changes to protect family rights that have a tangible impact to families across the great state of Texas. Serving as part of the Watchmen team is an excellent opportunity that every homeschool graduate, especially those interested in government, politics, or law, should consider.”

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