County commissioners go back to grade school

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 28, 2005

Attention George Patterson, Jason Stephens and Doug Malone: Amanda Callicoat wants your job.

And there may be more aspiring Lawrence County Commissioners amongst the fourth grade class at Chesapeake Elementary School after the children got an up-close-and-personal view of local government Thursday.

The commissioners had their weekly meeting at the school at the request of Principal Jack Finch, who wanted the children to see how government works as part of their studies.

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&#8220Some of these kids have never met a commissioner before, never met a mayor,” Finch said. &#8220This was a visual event as opposed to just reading about it in a textbook.

&#8220You can talk about it but when they see it and interact with it, then it becomes different. That's when 90 percent of learning takes place. You never know what seeds have been planted in the minds of these children. Some of them might have watched what went on Thursday and later will say ‘hey, that's what I want to do.'”

Actually, Finch, the seed has already germinated in the mind of Amanda Callicoat, who said after the meeting that being a commissioner &#8220would be really fun.”

&#8220I learned a lot today,” she said.

Callicoat and some of her fellow students sat quietly and attentively through the business end of the meeting and then peppered commissioners with questions about everything from potholes to bridge closings.

Kearsten Mann was concerned about flash flooding in her grandmother's neighborhood. &#8220What happens when the water gets past the fence in her yard?” she asked.

&#8220Why is the 31st Street Bridge closed?” Breanna Skeens asked.

&#8220If there's a hurricane that hits, how can we help?” Katie Fife asked.

&#8220How come the lines on County Road 31 have not been painted yet?” Hannah Finley asked. &#8220There have been two bad wrecks because someone was driving on the wrong side of the road.”

&#8220We didn't coach them,” Finch said. &#8220These were their questions and if you think about it, they asked the same questions about potholes and floods and traffic as adults would.”

Commissioners opened the meeting by proclaiming Thursday as Chesapeake Elementary School Day throughout the county.