High school students got a first-hand look at county government last Thursday during the annual County Government Day, sponsored by American Legion Post 150 and its partner organizations.
Students at Ste. Genevieve High School and Valle Catholic High School signed up to shadow various county office-holders.
They also rotated and visited the rest of the offices to see the officials at work and find out what they do.
In addition, they heard from U.S. Representative Jason Smith during lunch.
Student Presiding Commissioners Brooke Weiler [Ste. Genevieve] and Owen Viox [Valle], along with First District County Commissioners Bryce Gegg [Valle] and Clayton Huck [Ste. Genevieve] and Second District County Commissioners Taylor Matthews [Ste. Genevieve] and Zach Wolk [Valle] got to see quite a bit of action during the County Commission meeting.
Smith talked to the students about how he came to get involved in government.
“I had never had any interest at all in government — whether it was city, state, federal, county — until I was a freshman in high school,” Smith said. “I was very involved in an organization called FFA — Future Farmers of America — and I had this FFA project, but it was 15, 20 feet from my dad’s auto repair shop. …
“However, I got summoned by the local city council that I was running a commercial business in a residential area with my FFA project. I thought this is crazy. Here I am a shy freshman who couldn’t get in front of a group of people, and I had to go before the city council in a meeting to fight for my FFA project, to stay next to my dad’s auto repair shop next to the trailer that we lived in. And ultimately, after two times before the city council, I lost.
“From that point on, I paid attention to government at all levels.”
See complete story in the May 1 edition of the Herald.