Third grade social studies students at Adair County Elementary School were treated to three guest speakers this week as part of their section on local government. Columbia Mayor Curtis Hardwick spoke to the students Wednesday, while Circuit Judge Judy Vance and District Judge Michael Loy made the visit Friday.
“Any time you can pull leaders from the community and get them involved in the school, it’s a positive thing,” says ACES Principal Steve Burton. “Being able to meet and see these leaders enhances students’ learning experience and makes them excited. It’s a positive experience for the students.”
During his visit Wednesday, Hardwick spoke about his duties as mayor, and also explained the role of city government as a whole. He talked about the various departments under his supervision as well as his responsibility overseeing the budget, before taking questions from students. Questions included inquiries both personal, “How old are you?” “How long have you been mayor?” and impersonal “How does the city make money?”
“I always enjoy coming into the schools and talking to kids, especially the young kids,” Hardwick said. “It’s good to get out and let them know what we do as elected officials. I was very impressed with the questions they asked.”
Vance and Loy spoke Friday about the role of the judiciary, their respective duties as circuit and district judge, and the education and experience required to become a judge. “We make sure the laws are applied fairly and settle any disputes people have about the laws,” Loy explained.
Questions from students, just like Wednesday, were inquisitive and wide-ranging. One student asked what they liked best about being judge. Another asked why they decided to become judges. Both judges offered thoughtful answers to each of the five questions posed.
Burton says he appreciates Hardwick, Loy, and Vance taking the time to come visit the students. “We’re very grateful to them and thankful that they’re willing to come in here and share what they know with our students,” Burton says. “It’s a unique learning opportunity.”
By Wes Feese
Media Relations, Adair County Schools