(Almonte, ON) – Students from four Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) schools received a first-hand look on how municipal governments operate, including a meet and greet with Mississippi Mills Mayor Christa Lowry, and tour of the municipal offices and public works department on October 17, coinciding with Local Government Week, October 16-20.
The municipality invited nearby schools to attend an ‘open house’ where Mayor Lowry welcomed students into council chambers, fielding questions and discussing how local governments operate.
During the tour, students met with municipal staff who detailed their job duties, and saw equipment in the public works garages, including snowplows, a pothole patcher and dump trucks.
“I found it very intriguing that the mayor doesn’t boss everyone around, and that’s what most people think!” said Olivia Holms, a grade 6 students from R. Tait McKenzie. “I think it’s important to learn about this.”
Grade 6 student Greta Birchall of Naismith Memorial P.S. said she didn’t realize how many people worked in local government. “I knew there was lots of big equipment, but I didn’t know there were that many people doing separate jobs,” she said.
The field trip will also be used as a classroom discission for other students to learn, according to R. Tait McKenzie P.S. Grade 5/6 teacher Morgan Doyle.
“This is a great opportunity,” she said. “It’s extremely important for them to understand that they have a future role in local, provincial or federal government, and this is a starting point.”
“One of my students that came today will be doing a presentation about what we learned, and all the responsibilities, and we’ll have a big conversation about that,” Doyle added.
“Local Government Week gives us that opportunity to reach out to schools and spend time talking about government,” said Mayor Lowry. “We had some really good questions!”
“It’s a bit of a relationship building piece as well, to expose some kids to an area they don’t normally get to come see and have some conversations with people they wouldn’t normally have, just to break that barrier down a little bit,” said Mayor Lowry.
I let all the kids and teachers know that if they have other questions, just reach out to us. If there is another part of our services or department that you want to learn a little bit about, just let us know, it doesn’t end with Local Government Week,” she added,
“This is an amazing opportunity for our students. Understanding how local government works is foundational knowledge that will help our students grow into informed community members, and it opens their eyes to the possibilities and potential careers in our own communities,” says Don Hickey, Principal of Naismith Memorial Public School.