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Area students take part in Youth in Government Day

High school students from Jackson, Cape Central, Notre Dame, Saxony, Oak Ridge and Delta took part in the Optimist Club’s Youth in Government Day on March 29. The high school students were able to shadow government officials at the school, city, county and federal level.

Seven Jackson students ran a mock school board meeting, electing Parker Philipps the school board president and Peyton Strand as vice president. The students considered a performing arts center, adding a recycling program and out of school suspensions in the district.

Students shadowing City of Jackson officials toured the police and fire complex before holding a mock city council meeting. The meeting was led by Mock Mayor Landon Carlton and Mock City Administrator Kaitlin Bruns.

During the meeting, the students presented a proclamation, set an E-Cycle Electronic Waste Collection Event, heard a presentation by the mock parks director Justin Litzelfelner and discussed what they would like to see in Jackson.

All participating students met up for lunch at the Jackson Knights of Columbus Hall before going back to school. During the lunch, Sheriff Ruth Ann Dickerson gave a keynote address on government service.

Optimist Alex Austin said the program is designed to gain first-hand experience with their local governments and see how they work. “If you are like how I was at 17 or 18, you saw elections take place but they were just signs in yard,” Austin said. He hopes students not only see how the role they shadowed works, but also how it fits into the larger government body.

Jackson students participating included Landon Carlton, Danielle Bridges-Gast, Emily Hawkins, Lainey Broussard, Dawson Curl, Ashlynn Henry, Ethan Cossey, Trey Evans, Andrew Duncan, Brock McCullough, Justin Singleton, Sarah Fetterhoff, Hailey Mitchell, Justin Litzelfelner, Sophie Crabtree, Faith Dynneson, Case Englehart, Kaitlin Bruns, Bay Winchester, Sammi Poat, Peyton Watson, Seth Rigg, Parker Philipps, Tyler Webb, Peyton Strand, Sammie Mansfield, Abby Strickland, Bethany Miller, Hanna Wilson and Cherish Bowles.

From Saxony Lutheran High School, Megan Cassa-sola, Molly McNabb, Emma Roth, Andrew Schwarting and Belle Donaldson participated.

Notre Dame Regional High school had Sara Williams, Alessandra Rubi, Arjun Sahari, Krista Dirnberger, Sophie Hagan, Zach Bell, Kathleen Oliver, Taylor Folson, Molly Sellers, Hallie Stein, Perri Poe, Mary Clair Oberlohr, Macie Mabrey, Haley Lincoln, GiGi Merideth, Christian Evans and Madeline Mullen participate.

Oak Ridge students participating included Bryce Hahs, Drake Stone, Drew Glueck, Zach LeGrand and David Layton.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past five years. He can be reached at

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