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SHS students learn about city government

Posted Date: 02/28/2017

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Credit: Standard Democrat 

The next generation is in favor a city recycling program.
Students from Sikeston High School took part in the annual Youth in Government Day on Friday, tackling the roles of city council member, public safety and city staff members.
Part of their day was an opportunity for the students to learn from their real-life counterparts about their jobs.
When speaking with the students about the city government, Sikeston Councilman Ryan Merideth urged them to consider all aspects of the issues, including costs and benefits. Of most importance, he added, was whether their decision on an issue best represented the thoughts and feelings of the community.
Councilmember Karen Evans also noted serving on the city council is a way to give back to the community.
The students put what they had learned to the test as they tackled the very real issue of recycling during a city council meeting.
After hearing the city’s proposal, members of the public had the opportunity to voice their opinions.
Kylie Noe said she was against a curbside recycling program. Noe pointed out only two of seven types of plastic are recyclable.
“I don’t want to pay extra since most plastic goes to the landfill,” Noe told the Council.
Other concerns ranged from the cost of a recycling bin for citizens and whether bags used used will be torn up by animals, leaving more litter in the city. The costs to residents was also an issue.
Others favored recycling but wondered how Sikeston would educate citizens about the program
Fadel Alkilani, as mayor, suggested using the city’s Facebook page to let people know what can and can’t be recycled. Also he suggested volunteers from organization at the school could assist in passing out pamphlets on recycling.
Alkilani also favored curbside recycling.
“The easier we make it, the more people will recycle,” he reasoned.
While some of the council members debated the pros and cons of the issue, when it came to a vote it was unanimous to begin a recycling program in Sikeston.
Alkilani admitted prior to the meeting to being a little bit nervous as he took his seat at the center of the council table.
“This is very interesting stuff,” he added. “I have always wanted to learn more about the city government.”
That is exactly what their government teachers, Eric Balsman and Jessica Ramsey hoped the day would provide.
Balsman said while they study government at the federal and state level, taking part in the Youth in Government program lets students see how government really works at the local level.
Ramsey added it is important for students to understand how the local government impacts their daily lives. “And how important it is for them to understand how government works and be an active citizen in our community … taking advantage of those civic responsibilities and civic rights we have.”