Youth Government Day returns
Waupaca County students visit courthouse
After a two-year hiatus due to the covid pandemic, Waupaca County high school students returned to the courthouse for Waupaca County Youth Government Day 2022.
Sponsored by local American Legion posts and Waupaca County employees, County Youth Government affords students the opportunity to learn about state and local government and promotes citizenship and public service.
A total of 114 students from five area high schools – New London, Clintonville, Waupaca, Iola-Scandinavia and Weyauwega-Fremont – attended this year’s program on April 28.
Nineteen New London High School sophomores saw firsthand how and why local government is important in residents’ daily lives.
During their visit to the Waupaca County Courthouse and Law Enforcement Center, students met and learned from a number of professionals:
• Emergency Management Director Andrew Carline and Deputy Director Eric Halverson described how the county prepares for and manages local emergencies and disasters, both natural and human made.
• County Veterans Service Officer Jesse Cuff explained the county’s role in connecting local veterans to the state and federal veterans services that they earned.
• State Rep. Kevin Peterson and County Board Chair Dick Koeppen provided real-world implications of state and local policy decisions.
• Judge Troy Nielsen welcomed students to his Branch I courtroom and engaged students in a mock trial.
• The county clerk, treasurer, register of deeds, medical examiner, clerk of court, district attorney and sheriff hosted small group Q & A sessions with students.
• Law enforcement officers directed tours of the county jail and sheriff’s offices, answering questions about their work in Waupaca and throughout the county.
• Communications Center officers showed students the new, state-of-the-art facility wherethey monitor and respond to 911 calls all day and night, every day of the year.
New London students who participated were Wyatt Adamovich, Micah Eckhart, Tyler Gerrits, Alexis Glocke, Carson Gregory, Sam Hegner, Hannah Hoffman, Jack Hoover, Riley Joles, Jack Kedinger, Julia Ludick, Wyatt Magolski, Connor Pues, Alyssa Pukita, Brynn Roloff, Jakob Sherwood, Isabella Sloma, Alex Wagner and Xatha Xiong.
“The most memorable part of County Youth Government Day was going to the communications room,” shared attendee Alyssa Pukita. “It amazes me how the people taking the 911 calls can stay in a dark room with many computers for twelve hours at a time. They have some interesting stories of the things they hear, and they have a lot of technology to help them send help to the callers.”
NLHS student Wyatt Adamovich added, “Waupaca County Youth Government Day showed me the faces behind the names of our county’s officials. I think a lot of people, including myself, think of the elected and appointed officials as distant figures that they will never meet. This day showed me that they are real people, and that they truly work hard to make our county run smoothly.”
“I have been fortunate to bring our students to County Youth Government Day many times, and I learn new things each and every year,” New London social studies teacher Brian Mathu said. “The necessary cancellation of the program in 2020 and 2021 made me appreciate this year’s event even more.”
Waupaca County hosts one of the longest running County Youth Government Day programs in Wisconsin.
It has benefitted young people in local communities for the past 63 years, and it is made possible through the time and effort of many people.
Members of local American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary posts sponsor the event; Legionnaire Arien Herminath and County Clerk Kristy Opperman organize the event each year; VFW Post 1037 provides their clubhouse as a gathering area for a lunch; and many Waupaca County employees and law enforcement officers volunteer their time and expertise.