On Monday, a group of sophomores kicked off the government section of their class with a hands-on learning experience, traveling to the Jefferson County Courthouse to take part in County Government Day.
Randy Simpson, who teaches social studies at Fairbury Jr./Sr. High School, believes that County Government Day is important for his students because it lets them see how it affects their everyday lives.
“A lot of these kids aren’t even aware of all these positions and that there is a government for the county,” said Simpson. “Most of the time when they hear about government, they think of state and national level government, and they aren’t really aware of what all goes on at the local level. There are a lot of things that happen on a local level that affect them.”
Another aspect of County Government Day, Simpson explained, is that students can learn about viable job opportunities in county government, stating that this experience allows students to see day-to-day operations in county government.
“Students may look at national government jobs and think that they may be too tough to get into,” Simpson said. “Whether it’s Congress or getting elected as President, anything is possible, but this is another good way for them to get involved in government here on the local level. I think here they can see how if they get involved with government they can help out their community.”
Simpson believes that County Government Day helps students to build stronger connections with their elected officials, and gives them the opportunity to see all the resources that are available.
“I think awareness of what goes on at the local level is important,” said Simpson. “You can think of these officials, whether they’re appointed or elected, as resources for them. I always say, for example, if you live out in the country and you’re not happy with the roads in your area, you have a resource: you can go to your Highway Superintendent or your County Commissioner. I just think overall it’s a good opportunity for these kids to learn. They’re going to come away from today knowing more about the people in county government.”