Seniors from high schools across Oakland County got an interactive civics lesson on Wednesday, Feb. 5 during the annual Youth in Government Day.
Over 100 students from 10 high schools packed the Oakland County Board of Commissioners auditorium for the event, which is hosted in partnership with the MSU Extension 4-H Leadership and Civic Engagement Team.
“When we talk about government, we spend so much time on the federnal, the national government, but not a lot of time talking about local government, which impacts us on a daily basis,” Williams Kussy, a civics and economics teacher at Walled Lake Western High School, said. “It’s good to see them interacting with everyone like this.”
Various county leaders and the County Executive David Coulter spoke to the students about the importance of local government. Circuit court judges opened their courtrooms for Q&A sessions with the students while the sheriff’s office brought in a K-9 unit demonstration. Students also participated in mock debates on political topics like taxing sweetened drinks such as soda or sugary juice.
“These kids are more aware (than previous generations). They’re going to take a more active role in this world. I see them becoming more involved and it’s because of the division in politics,” Kussy said. “I always tell them to look at our low voter turnouts. If they want to change something, they have to get out and vote.”
Students who are of age also had the opportunity to register to vote during the event.
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