On the first Tuesday in March, Vermont’s citizens gather to discuss town and school business at the Annual Town Meeting. It’s an age-old tradition that exhibits democracy in action at its finest and messiest. Each year, students in BFA’s Senior Social Studies classes attend Town Meeting in Fairfax, Georgia, Fletcher or Westford to learn firsthand what is required of them if they are to exhibit “responsible civic behaviors” after they graduate.
Students checked in, sat among the voters, listened and took notes. In class, they will discuss the procedures, peculiarities and personalities that they witnessed.
The following are some of the students first impressions of Town Meeting 2016:
“Town meeting for me was very interesting to see how issues in our town are taken care of. I liked seeing how active people in the community are and I think it was great that they were able to discuss before any voting was taken place.” ~ Cooper
“I thought town meeting was interesting but confusing.” ~Katy
“Town meeting was very interesting, entertaining at times as well.” ~ Geoffrey
“I was surprised to see that some of the topics I would have expected to be discussed heavily were in fact discussed very little or not discussed at all. I found town meeting to be very informative and a great way to get an understanding of the community’s opinions on several issues.” ~ Bastien
“The town meeting was mostly productive, however I felt that it took much longer to resolve Article 3 than it should have.” ~ Will
“Well I went to the Westford meeting and from what I heard it was similar to other meetings, where trash was a big topic and everyone seemed to have their own ideas about how it should have been handled.” Seamus
“I thought being a part of Town Meeting was a great way to learn more about the Fairfax community, and also about how local governments function in the town.” -Ben
“Town meeting was an interesting and fun experience! There were many of the Fletcher town members there and it was cool to see where the money goes in the budget, and also to see what people in my town care about the most.” ~ Scout
“It was really interesting to see how the people were able to stand up and comment on the issues at hand, along with watching actual voting happen. It was the truest form of democracy I’ve ever witnessed.” ~Victoria
Students at the Georgia Town Meeting were introduced and received a round of applause from the other voters. In addition to this being their first Town Meeting, many of the students exercised their right to vote for the first time as part of the day. Their study of local government will lead to the study of state government. Students will investigate a law that is in process and discuss it with the sponsoring legislators during a trip to the Statehouse.