THIRDGRADERS FROM WINDERMERE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEARN ABOUT CIVICS AND THEIR LOCAL GOVERNMENT
In what has become an October tradition, the third grade students of Windermere Elementary took a walk to the Windermere Town Hall to learn about the town's government, police department and fire department. It took two mornings to accommodate all eight of the classes in half day sessions where they learned about their community.
A project that started out as an experiment in educating students about their government and civics eight years ago has now evolved into an annual event that provides a foundation for the student’s involvement in government and an opportunity to meet the local leaders in their community.
They were greeted by Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn who provided them with a history of the town and then discussed how the town functions and the services that are provided. They then heard from Windermere Police Chief David Ogden and Ocoee Deputy Fire Chief Tom Smothers. That was followed by a presentation from Windermere Town Manager Robert Smith. One by one, each of them took time to explain the job that they do, how their departments operate and then answer the many questions that the students had. One top question for the Ocoee Deputy Fire Chief was why does Windermere use Ocoee’s Fire Department? A quick lesson in cost savings and community cooperation was presented to the students.
Then the classes were given presentations on the equipment that is used and they were able to hold a police officer’s protective vest, sit in the front of a police vehicle, look at all of the life saving tools that their Fire Department uses and learn what a day in the life of a firefighter is like. And after a full morning of learning, they visited Allen’s Creamery for a snack before heading back to school.
Mayor Bruhn said “Every year our students tell me how much they enjoy learning about their town and its government and I believe they learn a lot from these field trips. They ask some very good questions and when I ask questions of them, I’m amazed at how much they already know.
When asked what surprised him most this year, the Mayor quickly responded, “Can you imagine four classes of third graders proudly reciting the Preamble to our Constitution from memory? That’s what the students surprised me with! The teachers did an outstanding job of preparing these students for their visit.”
Civics 2014 Group – Fours of the eight classes from Windermere Elementary are joined by the Mayor, police officers and firefighters.
Civics 2014 Ogden class – Windermere Police Chief David Ogden answers questions from the students.
Civics 2014 Fire Truck – Students are shown the equipment that firefighters use.
Civics 2014 Police Sipek class – Windermere Police Officer Lori Sipek talks to students about what it takes to become a police officer.