Second-grade students at Fields Store Elementary (FSE) have been learning about local and state government, the three branches of government, and the roles government officials play. Teacher Kelsey Edmonds decided to help students understand these concepts by introducing them to a local government official such as Duhon. When she contacted Duhon about her idea, he was pleased to have the opportunity to share with students.
“I hoped that students would connect what we have been discussing in Social Studies with a real-life person,” Edmonds said. “Too often we mention community members, public officials, and famous people without being able to tangibly present them.”
Before Judge Duhon’s visit, Edmonds discussed who he was and his job with her class. Not wanting to give away too much information before the visit, Edmonds only told students basic information about Duhon, including showing them a photo so students would recognize him. They also talked about questions students could potentially ask.
“To have a person stand up there, in person, and be that representative we have been talking about in class is priceless,” Edmonds said. “I hope that they feel more comfortable and connected to our local government after knowing, meeting, and listening to an elected official.”
During his visit at FSE, Duhon introduced himself and spoke of the different levels of local government and how their main goal is to help everyone work together to keep the community safe. He used examples such as how building roads, creating laws, and enforcing those laws are all ways elected officials and other government workers serve the people of the county.
“This is probably one of the most important parts of my job, helping people understand what the government does and my role,” Duhon said. “Especially teaching kids at a young age so they learn and develop an understanding and appreciation of government. I remember that it was at a young age when I was first introduced to the idea of and grew an interest in government.”
Duhon also explained how he also takes on multiple roles as county judge, including the Director of Emergency Management who makes decisions during emergencies like bad weather. After his presentation, students were able to ask their own questions. Many students were interested in how laws are created, budget, and most importantly, if speeding on the road is ever acceptable. Students were also curious about Duhon’s story outside of being a county judge. They asked about his previous jobs, hobbies, and dog.
“I think that him talking to our kids really helped drive in the information they have been receiving all week. Being able to now put a face to the facts gives them confidence in what they’re speaking and learning,” Edmonds said. “After, when we talked about local public services, they kept referring to “Mr. Duhon” when certain concepts popped up.”