Springfield students tackle politics, speak with local leaders

Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland asks Springfield High School students questions about their Death Penalty project at a recent Policy Fair. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

Springfield City students recently had an opportunity to speak with public officials and present to them projects exploring how they can make the city, state and country a better place.

The students took on Project Citizen, a learning experience that allows students to dive into local politics and learn more about both sides of the issues. It is also a tool to teach them that they can make a difference, government teacher Scott Hambrick said.

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“I am big on citizenship and civic participation,” he said. “I just want students to see that even at a young age, even though they are not voters, there are other ways and more influential ways to impact their community and bring about change and be the change they want to see.”

Officials from Springfield city, Clark County and the judicial system all attended the presentations and then were asked to score them. Students had an opportunity to explain their ideas and why they feel it would make the area a better place to live.

“Our students are able to see and make connections with people in government who actually deal with those issues they are presenting,” Hambrick said.

Brooklyn Richardson is an 11th-grade student at the school and her group took on the overdose problem.

“We are presenting our policies to different officials and people who want to see a change in Springfield and even the state,” she said.

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Richardson’s group argued that Narcan should be limited to people who abuse drugs because of the cost that taxpayers on the hook. She said her group believes users should have to pay the city back for the Narcan.

Hambrick said the project helps students learn about government by becoming active in it.

“It helps students to get into the world of public policy and see their role as an active citizen and participating in that policy cycle in order to bring about change in their community,” he said.