Students from across Nodaway County had the opportunity to explore the ins and outs of the County government.
All schools in Nodaway County, including a total of 182 students and 16 teachers attended the event sponsored by the American Legion. Throughout the morning students met officials and toured several buildings including Maryville Public Safety and the Nodaway County Courthouse.
Jamie Thieman who teaches eighth-grade social studies at Maryville Middle School said students were able to interact with the county officials on this special day.
“Throughout the morning, students will be interacting with the public officials and during the trial they serve as a jury members and the attorney involves all students in attendance,” Thieman said.
While there was plenty of time for fun, Thieman said the students would be applying what they learned in class to the day, as well as learning how to be responsible, informed voters.
“We hope our students gain an insight into our legal system, which we study in eighth-grade social studies,” Thieman said. “We also want them to learn how the county runs and how big Nodaway County really is, so when they turn 18 and can vote. They will be able to be productive citizens of our local and state government by being informed on what or who they are voting for and how it will impact them.”
Nodaway County Clerk Melinda Patton helped students learn about county government when they visited her office.
“We ran through what we do in our office, but what we really hit on was elections,” Patton said. “We just really talked about what it takes to put an election together. We talked about how to register to vote, the age requirements and absentee voting. That’s what we really focused on.”
Melinda said she tried to bring the idea of elections to a local level for the students who most likely associate elections with the presidential race.
“We talked about the school board and how that can impact their world a little bit by who’s on that school board making decisions for their everyday world,” Patton said. “We tried to talk about city council and township councilmen, but I could tell there was a lot of glazed looks.”
While some students may not have found the idea of city council particularly exciting, Patton said some did show a lot of interest in county government procedures.
“There were some eighth-grade kids that really were interested,” Patton said. “We had one girl who probably asked four or five questions herself. She really wanted to know more about it, and seemed very interested.”
Patton said it is important for students to come to events like County Government Day to realize their place in the community and the impact they can make.
“I think it’s important because they need to know about government,” Patton said. “They need to know how things work and how they can make an impact in their community and also in their own lives.”
Students who stayed after lunch were able to hear from several speakers about their jobs and qualifications. These speakers included the Nodaway County Coroner, a Nodaway County Sheriff’s Deputy, Bolt the K-9 unit, a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper, the public administrator, someone from the Nodaway County Health Department, someone from the Nodaway County Ambulance District and someone from the Missouri National Guard.
By Jessika Eidson | Maryville Daily Forum