Students from Martino and Liberty junior high schools assumed the roles of New Lenox officials and Village staff Monday, April 24 as they participated in a mock board meeting.
It was all part of a three-part exercise coordinated between New Lenox School District 122 and the Village of New Lenox.
“It’s something we’ve done for a long time within the community, and it just gives the students a chance to see how local government works and really understand the process in local government,” said Dr. Bonnie Groen, principal of Martino Junior High School. “They do a nice job of representing the district and their parents enjoy seeing them stepping up to being young adults.”
While the actions taken by the board were fake, the discussions weren’t. Students discussed the idea of holding a community cleanup day, the need to install a new ice rink and weighed in on a recent request received by the Village to hold a concert for teens. The meeting will be streamed live on Channel 6/New Lenox Community TV at a later date.
Mayor Tim Baldermann said Student Government Day gives the Village a good opportunity to interact with community youth.
“It’s important that all of our kids [have a good grasp of how local government works,]” he said.
“For the future our schools, for the future of our communities, for the future of our state and our country, we need smart, young people to be engaged and involved, and it starts at the local level,” Baldermann said. “Let’s face it, this is where you get your streets plowed, this is where your kids get educated, this is where they recreate in the park district.”