County may revive student program

FAIRMONT – It was an annual spring event until this year. Some of the top high school girls and boys in the county were selected to participate in Boys and Girls County, a day spent learning about city and county government.

But this year, the county’s Legion Auxiliary – the main sponsor of the program – discontinued the program when the group disbanded.

Doug Landsteiner, the county veterans service officer, told the board that in the past few years getting the event together has been a struggle, especially since standardized testing is going on at the same time.

“Getting them on the right day … It’s been hit and miss over the past six or seven years,” he said.

It was also noted that students involved in recent years have not shown the interest or the proper tone for the event.

“A lot of kids today don’t have the same interests,” Landsteiner said. “They aren’t getting as much out of it.”

Commissioners Steve Pierce and Dan Schmidtke agreed.

“You can tell,” Pierce said. “They’re not dressed up. They look bored. They’re just there getting a day out of school.”

“We want to make sure the kids are getting something out of it,” Schmidtke said.

Landsteiner addressed whether the county wants to revive the program next year.

“I didn’t mind working with the presenters,” he said. “It’s a question of would the county want to work with the schools to continue this? I know the recent career day we had encompasses some of this.”

“We have two options,” said commission chairman Elliot Belgard. “We can either advertise for a sponsor, or take it over ourselves.”

While commissioners seemed to be open to bringing the program back to life, Schmidtke indicated some stipulations should be included.

“It’s Government Day, and it should be respected,” he said. “Don’t come in here wearing torn-up jeans and a T-shirt that says, ‘Whatever.'”