Not Your Average Joes

Chesterfield County Model County Government


Photo by: Mrs. Regina Warriner

Midlothian High School Model County Government Representatives are dressed for success to represent their school and fellow classmates.

On October 25th & 26th, sixty-nine students from across Chesterfield County Public Schools shadowed members of local government. These students were elected from committees of teachers and faculty in every high school in the county based on their ability to exhibit interest in public service, performence in their current government and politics course, and responsibility, among other desirable character traits. The lucky candidates had the opportunity to embark an interesting experience, learning the inner workings of county leadership roles.

On October 25, 2016, Model County Government Student Representatives poured into the Career and Technical Center (CTC) at Hull Street. They briefly attended a dinner reception with other classmates and representatives from other schools and then awaited the school board meeting. This school board meeting proved an interesting one due to the discussion of school start times.

Student representatives formed into committees and evaluated the three proposals; each proposal seemed to have its own set of potential flaws that needed attention, and students began to see the complexity of decision making in public policy. However, with much consideration, student leaders in majority favored option C: changing high school school start times to 8 am – 2:30 pm, at a cost of $17.1 million.  Student Elected Representatives then nominated table leaders to face the podium and speak to the school board members, as well as the community, about why option C was most beneficial. The student concluded that while it was the most expensive option, it did not offer a band-aid fix. Much would change for the better, and it would be a good investment.

Student leaders also began to see a side that many in the community had not tconsidered, purchasing more busses would lead to more jobs and lead more people to come to the county. Therefore, the students concluded that the difference in cost between option C and the other options was minimal in comparison to the benefits it provided and the true change it offered. As the event concluded, students went home, where they prepared to shadow their local government sponsor the next morning.

Bright-eyed and bushy tailed students ventured throughout the county to shadow local county leaders. From 8 am-noon, students learned about how their mentors impact local government and the daily lives of those in our community. “If one thing became apparent from this experience, it is that there is a lot that goes behind the scene of maintaining this wonderful community,” exclaims Yusuf Goulamine, Midlo senior and Model County Government representative for Midlothian. Midlothian representatives were lucky to have really awesome and unique experiences. John Hartmann was at the scene of a live press conference, as talk of purchasing the River City Sportsplex emerged; Garyth Morgan followed a Fire and EMS Lieutenant, Michaela Nadeau and received an inside peek into the life of Chesterfield County’s IT department; Michelle Kim learned about database and inventory management through shadowing a local librarian, Michael DeMatteo received a behind-the-scenes look at the Human Relations department of Chesterfield County; and Carly Roberts attended turbulent discussions describing the censorship of banned books within public schools.

As the shadowing event ended, students and sponsors went to Kings Korner for a lunch reception, followed by an awards banquet and speech by Dr. James F. Lane. Following the reception, students attended the Board of Supervisors Meeting and met Dorothy Jaeckle, Christopher Winslow, James Holland, Steve Elswick, Leslie Haley, and Dr. Joseph Casey, members of the Board of Supervisors.

For many students, this was their first experience in a court room; furthermore, it provided a learning experience into the decision making policies that affect Chesterfield County residents on a daily basis. Issues such as pupil-teacher ratio in classrooms, Swift Creek Reservoir redistricting, and hacked local election voting booths emerged vividly during the meeting.  Mrs. Regina Warriner, AP US Government teacher at Midlothian High School, feels proud to say that our Midlothian student representatives left Model County Government more informed and appreciative of the process impacting their daily lives.

Please congragulate the following MHS Model County Government Representatives:

Michael DeMatteo

Yusuf Goulamine

John Hartmann

Michelle Kim

Michaela Nadeau

Garyth Morgan

Carly Roberts