Students shadow Wadsworth City leaders

BY HALLE SHAEFFER


‘Students in Government Day’ is a way for high schoolers to learn what it takes to run Wadsworth. This week, Wadsworth High’s government students were given a chance to become city officials for a day.

“I hope that students take away a sense of what happens behind the scenes, and how city infrastructure works” said Clerk of Council, Tammy Guenther.

Previous Council President, Annet Palecek started this program for students in the 90’s to introduce more students to the idea of government on a much more personal level. Doing this by assigning each student to a government official who they will shadow throughout the day.

The day started with a group meeting and then students were split into three separate tour groups: economic development, safety, and service, the students are then taken to respective areas around the town that pertain to their section of government. Following the tours of Wadsworth, each student met their counterpart in city hall and worked on a current issue within the position.

“I had the opportunity to be in the safety group, meaning that we visited the fire and police stations in Wadsworth.”  said Sami Shaffer,11. “Fire chief Robert Linder, took us through both fire stations and walked us through details on the fire trucks. Following that Randall Reinke, the police chief took us through the jail and the police station. We even got to watch the dispatcher take a call during our tour.”

Sami Shaffer, 11, shadowed the Wadsworth Police Chief for the day to see what his job entailed.

Alongside these three tour groups, a group of students were assigned to the administration of education within Wadsworth. The students included in this group met with Dr. Andy Hill and other Board of Education members at the Admin Building.

“The importance of the day is for students to be able to go behind the scenes and see what goes beyond the school and city and what all of these different positions can do for its students and citizens that we can take for granted because they are services that are always there for you,” said Dr. Hill.

Students in government day is able to expose many students to how our town is run that they had never seen in person.

“Realizing how unique we are as a city and that we have a lot going on, a lot more than people notice is the most important part of the day for me,” said Mayor Robin Laubaugh.

Morgan Porpora, 11, and Halle Shaeffer, 11, got the chance to try on the firefighter’s equipment while touring the fire station.

Many students see the importance of local government but aren’t always given the opportunity to express their opinions.

“I think that local government is an important part of our community and it’s very important that us students are involved to be able to appeal to what the community needs,” said Connor Margo,11.

By the end of the day many students had learned all of the background details to seemingly simple things within the city.

“I definitely learned more than I ever thought went into our education system, my favorite part of the day was being able to theoretically solve problems at our school.” said Julia Arellano,11.  “My group walked around the elementary schools and met with Mrs. Gahan (Principal of Central Intermediate School). We got to meet with lots of teachers and shadowed them for a small section of the day.”

At the end of the day, each department turned in requests to the city council for their approval. Students acted as both the department heads and as council members.

Students with the opportunity to  deal with current issues often felt that they were in a position to be heard.

“My favorite part of the day was listening to people talk and letting our voices as students to be heard.” said Adam Stevens,11. “Our group had a meeting dealing with the bus situation at the end of the day. We sat down with the superintendent and many board members to create a mock solution which felt like a very unique situation as a student.”

City hall’s intentions were to education students and inform them on current issues within the city. This opportunity gave advanced placement students the chance to expand their knowledge of the government outside of the classroom.

All Photos Courtesy of Leah McNutt

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