Seniors from Stafford’s five high schools came to Stafford County this week to get a glimpse of local government, even participating in a mock Board of Supervisors meeting. The students were there for Student Government Day, an annual event where students shadowed County employees and met with local leaders.
“It’s always a pleasure to hold these events for students. Our schools have a diverse population of students with different talents and abilities,” said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Meg Bohmke, Falmouth District. “We hope that this experience with local government will be just the start of a lifetime of engagement in the community for these students.”
Students choose the departments in which they are interested and assigned to observe an employee from that department for the day. Students are also selected to serve as members of the Board of Supervisors, the County Administrator, the Deputy County Administrator and the County Attorney. Students then conducted a mock board meeting undertaking a fictional issue affecting the community.
This event is part of Stafford’s effort in honoring Local Government in Education Week in the County and Virginia with the activities on Student Government Day as well as presenting a proclamation at the Board of Supervisor’s meeting. Local Government in Education Week is celebrated the first week in April by the Virginia General Assembly and recognizes the work of local government.
“It is important that students understand the legislative and executive process in local government,” said Supervisor Tom Coen, George Washington District, a Colonial Forge teacher who created Student Government Day 18 years ago. “As an educator, I wanted students to know that local government is accessible and that they can play a part in it.”
Student Government Day is just one effort by Stafford County Government to reach out to students to familiarize them with local government. Stafford hosts third-grade tours every year in the Government Center, where staff and volunteers teach students about the types of work performed by the County as well as some of the diverse history of the County.
Stafford also sponsors the Youth Engaged in Stafford program that gives high school students the opportunity to participate in one of the boards, authorities, committees and commissions appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The program has 13 participants this year and is accepting applicants in the fall. For more information, visit www.staffordcountyva.gov/yesprogram.