‘Close Up’ students get hands-on experience with local government

ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)–County, city and state leaders came together Friday to give Onslow County Close Up students an up-close look at how government works.

Students spent the day with local government from county commissioners to local lawmakers all to get a hands-on experience.

The day started off with students acting as county commissioners. Commissioners advised students on how to do their job, as the students addressed a funding issue and listened to public comments. And they learned it’s not always easy making all of the decisions.

“It’s really hard because you have to appeal to everybody but at the same time get the right decision down,” said Bogue Dick, an 11th grader at Swansboro High School. “Being able to do that is extremely difficult but it’s also extremely rewarding in the end.”

Luckily the Onslow County Commissioners were on hand to help them out.

“They learned today how they can be tasked with having to make decisions under pressure, and how you’ve got two different sides to every story,” said Chairman Jack Bright. “Just like the commissioners, they’ve got to listen to both sides and then make informed decisions.”

All seven high schools were represented during Friday’s event with more than 100 students in attendance.

“It’s important for students to understand the impact that county government has on their lives,” said Brent Anderson, Director of Secondary and Instructional Leadership for OCS. “These people make decisions that affect them in the classroom and outside of the classroom as they live in here in Onslow County.”

Students also heard from local lawmakers and asked them tough questions about legislation, including healthcare and police relations.

“It was eye-opening,” said Rep. George Cleveland, (R) Onslow. “They’re actually on top of what’s going on and what is happening in the General Assembly. They asked relevant questions that were right up to date.”

After the Q-A, students split up into groups to attend sessions at the Sheriff’s Office and government complex. They also heard from the Onslow County Emergency Services director and GIS mapping division within the county.

“It gives me an insight on not only takes place in the local government, but we actually get insight from people who do this job every day,” Deja Mayfield, a 12th grader at Jacksonville High School, said. “They’ve been very informative and shared their experience with us and answered many of our questions.”

Onslow County is one of the few school systems in our state that actually has a full Close Up day. It’s the 28th year of the event.

 

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