Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Civics students given real life lesson in civil responsibility


November 30, 2017

Kimball High students take a first hand lesson in civics with a request to Kimball City Council.

The Kimball High School civics class, along with teacher Jeri Ferguson, sought $3,000 of Keno funds for a keynote speaker, and though they were not granted the full amount, they took away a lesson about what it takes to be effective, involved citizens.

Since the March 21, 2017 City Council meeting, the local council now asks any organization seeking Keno funds to provide community service hours in an attempt to encourage community participation and volunteerism and mitigate lower than normal Keno funds.

At that time council member Kim Baliman addressed local business owners Nate and Heather Entingh, who suggested community service in exchange for Keno funds.

“Our available Keno funds are very low,” council member Kim Baliman said. “I appreciate what you guys did, bringing this to the forefront and I think it is an important conversation that we need to have.”

For the local high school students, according to Ferguson, the idea of a keynote address began at the beginning of this school year when students were discussing NFL athletes taking a knee during the National Anthem.

Discussion at that time revolved around freedom of speech and students questioned at what point that freedom crossed a line. As students considered many facets of the issue, concerns such as respect, values and kindness were raised.

Ferguson said that the class wished to hear a keynote address and they began researching speakers for the local student body. Students voted and a speaker was chosen, but with funding a concern, the class approached Kimball City Council at their Nov. 21 meeting.

Though they were not granted the full requested amount of $3,000, the class was offered $2,000 in Keno funds for the event.

Unfortunately, when Ferguson attempted to finalize a date, she found that the chosen speaker was booked – not just for this school year, but well into the next.

So, Ferguson said, it is back to the vote, as the civics class will determine which, if any, speaker will be booked for the year. Then, the class must readdress the board with the proposed changes and a presentation of community service hours.

The class is expected to be on the December agenda.


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