Students take control of county government, for one day

Henrico County Circuit Court Judge L.A. Harris, Jr. (right) administers the oath of office Wednesday, Feb. 29 at Hermitage High School to students who acted as members of the Henrico Board of Supervisors for the 2012 Student Government Day. The students are (standing left to right) Avery Jones of Highland Springs High School, representing the Varina District; Dominique Robinson of Freeman High School, representing the Tuckahoe District; Breonna Green of Henrico High School, representing the Fairfield District; Namrata Thawrani of Deep Run High School, representing the Three Chopt District; and Sam Belvin of Hermitage High School, representing the Brookland District.

Dozens of high school students from Henrico County got a firsthand look at the county’s general government and public schools administrations earlier this month when they shadowed elected and appointed officials for the 55th annual Student Government Day.

Student Government Day, held March 1, matched 93 students from nine high schools with such leaders as members of the Board of Supervisors and School Board, county manager, superintendent of schools, department directors and judges. The students, most of whom are seniors, spent the day learning the responsibilities of various departments and gaining insight into how local government works with and on behalf of the public in a democracy.

“It is the very best government on the face of the Earth,” County Manager Virgil R. Hazelett told the students. “It does work because of the people we elect. We may not always agree, but it does work.”

Student Government Day started Wednesday at Hermitage High School with a ceremony in which many of the students took the oath for their respective positions. All of the students reported to work early Thursday and spent the day asking questions and interacting with various officials. Students also had opportunities to tour the county jail and register to vote.

For students who worked at the Henrico Government Center on East Parham Road, the day culminated with a student-run meeting of the board of supervisors, which included rigorous questioning and debate over such issues as regulations on the discharge of air-powered guns, a contract for renovation and expansion of Fire Station 13 and a stream restoration project near Skipwith Elementary School.

Student Government Day is sponsored by the Kiwanis clubs of North Richmond, Tuckahoe and Greater Richmond.

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The Henrico County Community Author Showcase, a program that connects writers and readers in the community, will begin at 7 p.m. and continue on the second Monday and every Thursday of the month at various libraries. Melissa Gay will share her book “When Are You Leaving” at Tuckahoe Library. For details, visit Full text

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