Young Minds Engage with Local Leaders, Displaying Impressive Knowledge of Government
Woodward Mill Elementary School fifth graders recently embarked on an enlightening journey into the intricacies of the three branches of government during an educational visit to the Gwinnett County Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville, Georgia. The students’ enthusiasm and keen understanding of how government functions left a lasting impression on county leaders and reinforced the importance of civic education.
Gwinnett County Judge Tadia Whitner, one of the organizers of the special trip, expressed her admiration for the students, remarking, “I’ve learned a lot. These are some of the smartest fifth graders.” Judge Whitner eagerly anticipated challenging questions from the young learners, acknowledging their potential to ask thought-provoking inquiries.
The itinerary included engaging conversations with prominent officials, such as County Commission Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson, Clerk of Courts Tiana Garder, Tax Commissioner Denise Mitchell, representatives from the sheriff’s department K-9 unit, and fellow judges. The students were given a unique opportunity to witness firsthand the inner workings of local government and interact with the individuals responsible for upholding justice and serving the community.
Judge Whitner emphasized the significance of experiencing government in action, stating, “When you get to see it and touch it and feel it and really get to see how it works in action and to see the people that actually do it, that’s a great opportunity for them to really learn how our government works and that we’re real people, too.”
During Chairwoman Love Hendrickson’s presentation, eleven-year-old Scotta, seated at the front row, attentively absorbed the information and diligently took notes. Expressing her impressions, Scotta acknowledged the responsibilities associated with the executive branch and even found a connection between her aspirations as an actor and potential interest in public service.
Chairwoman Love Hendrickson lauded the students for their insightful questions and predicted a bright future for them as potential leaders. She remarked, “We definitely have some local leaders already in the room there asking all the right questions.” The students posed inquiries similar to those asked by adults, demonstrating an understanding of important topics such as tax allocation, land use decisions, homelessness, and deforestation.
The chairwoman’s favorite aspect of the event was witnessing the students’ engagement and curiosity regarding their taxes and land use decisions. She marveled at their wealth of knowledge, stating, “These kids really know a lot of information. They’re getting it. And I have to be honest and say that I’m very proud to know that our kids are paying attention to what’s happening around them.”
The visit to the Gwinnett County Justice and Administration Center served as a valuable educational experience, bringing the concepts of government to life for Woodward Mill Elementary School’s fifth graders. By engaging with local leaders and witnessing the practical application of governance, the students gained a deeper appreciation for their roles as active and informed citizens.
The event showcased the remarkable potential of young minds, inspiring hope for a future generation that is civically aware and actively participates in shaping their communities. It is through initiatives like this that the seeds of responsible citizenship are sown, fostering a society where the voices of all citizens, regardless of age, are valued and heard.
As Woodward Mill Elementary School continues to empower their students with knowledge and instill a sense of civic duty, the impact of this visit will undoubtedly resonate throughout the lives of these future leaders, forever shaping their understanding of government and their place within it.