|Kentucky Secretary of State meets Governor's Scholars, encourages civic literacy
RELEASED: July 21, 2005
DANVILLE, KYStudents in the Governor's Scholars Program on the Centre College campus were witness to a political doubleheader early this week.
On Monday morning, Congressman Ben Chandler made a campus appearance to speak with a group of scholars, announce the creation of an internship for Centre students and name Owensboro senior Nikki Smith as his first intern.
The following day Kentucky's Secretary of State, Trey Grayson, visited campus to meet with students and gather information for CLIK, the Civic Literacy Initiative of Kentucky.
CLIK aims to enhance civic literacy and engagement among the state's youth and encourages educators to teach students the theory behind government. Grayson's campus visit was similar to meetings he has held in towns across the Commonwealth. Its purpose was primarily to gather information about what and how students are learning about government, as well as how they are putting that knowledge into practice.
Sixty-five Governor's Scholars volunteered to participate in the program. They cited reasons ranging from a sense of civic responsibility to simple curiosity. "I thought it was a good opportunity to express my thoughts about how to get kids involved in their communities," says Tyler Murphy of Flatwoods, Ky., who describes himself as "politically minded."
Grayson explained to participants that while the entire group was composed of strong students, he valued the different experiences and opinions that resulted from their regional diversity.
Grayson asked students to complete a survey about the civic opportunities at their schools and about their own involvement with the community. Participants then broke up into six focus groups to address issues from the survey in detail. Students compared their personal experiences with participation in site-based council and school board meetings. They talked about the types of government classes offered or not offered by their schools, and about the means of learning in their classes. They also addressed such issues as the presence or absence of civics and service-related extra-curricular activities, and the effect of media coverage on political opinions and involvement.
Grayson sat in on each group's discussion. Following the small group conversations, students reconvened to share some of the major points of their talks. Many students reported that they were most interested in learning about the different ways that their peers were involved with their communities. Some of these students were even inspired to return home with what they learned to try to change things at their schools. "I think I'm going to try get more awareness of Mock Trials, because I think they sound fun and hands-on," says Samantha McIntyre of Todd County. Tyler Murphy agreed that it was interesting to see the different civic programs offered by different school districts and said he was thinking about encouraging his principal to add a political science course to the curriculum.
Also in the spirit of civic involvement, the Grayson team set up voter registration stations around campus, and throngs of Scholars registered to vote.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
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