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Posted by Avenues in News on 11/21/2018

Dist. 207 Seniors Learn About Government Through Hands-On Program

Students from Maine Township High School Dist. 207 were able to get hands-on experience in local government during a triannual program held earlier this month.

Nearly 40 senior students spent an entire school day visiting township agencies and participating in a mock board meeting Nov. 9 as part of “Township Government Day”. This event, held once every fall and once every spring, has been part of civics education in Maine Township for the past four decades, according to Richard Lyon, director of MaineStay Youth & Family Services. An abbreviated version of the program is also offered for Dist. 207 summer school students.

“I love this event,” township Supervisor Laura Morask told the Journal & Topics. “It’s one of the best ways to learn government that I’ve ever seen.”

For the fall 2018 event, 15 students from Maine West High School in Des Plaines, 13 from Maine East in Park Ridge and 10 from Maine South, also in Park Ridge, participated. Students volunteer to be part of the program through their government class.

Lyon said the students began the day with tours of two township funded agencies: Avenues To Independence, an organization for people with disabilities, and the Northwest Suburban Day Care Center. These trips provide a foundation for better understanding of how agencies work and how they use funding.

After a lunch break, the students split into groups of four to five, with one group representing the township board of trustees and others representing different agencies and residents looking for funding. The mock board decided how much funding each agency should receive based on presentations given by other students. In order to determine funding, the mock board also asked the presenters questions.

Morask said students in the program last year decided on funding levels nearly identical to what the actual township board approved.

“It’s a really great, practical experience,” said Lyon. “Students can learn how the government and nonprofits work together for the benefit of the community. Often, students who participate go on to pursue careers in politics or at nonprofits, he added.

“You can really pick out the future politicians,” said Morask, who was particularly impressed by the most recent group of students. “They were so good at it. I could have listened all day.”

 
http://https://www.journal-topics.com/articles/high-schoolers-take-over-maine-township/

Tags: Education , Community , Students , Maine , Government , MaineStay Youth and Family Services

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