Awareness begins locally

Monday, August 11, 2008

Few teens ever attend a meeting of the city council, board of supervisors or school board.

Such was not always the case in Cherokee County. In past years, meeting rooms were filled at certain times of the year with high school students viewing the proceedings, not particularly fascinated but politely attentive.

Government teachers in both the Aurelia and the Cherokee districts required students to attend a minimum number of hours at meetings of local government bodies.

The now-retired government teacher in Cherokee, Doug Woods, not only required students to attend local government meetings, he was a long-time volunteer on the Cherokee Fire Department and served on the Cherokee City Council. He understood first hand that government's impact on most of our lives is greater at the local level than at the state or federal level.

Study of the U.S. Constitution and of the branches of our federal government are certainly necessary but should be accompanied by the less glamorous, but ultimately more relevant study of school districts, municipalities and counties.

A student may get one opportunity during high school to participate in a field trip to Washington, D.C., if he or she is lucky. However opportunities to see government in action are quite frequent and accessible locally.

It is unfortunate that such opportunities are not used.