Making Democracy Work

League of Student and Government Leaders

To read about the Program in the Wilmette Beacon, click here.

League of Student and Government Leaders 2016

It was all for the students when a group of about 85 eighth graders with an interest in how their local government works showed up on Thursday, Jan. 7,2016 at Wilmette Junior High School for the League of Women Voters of Wilmette's kickoff meeting for its annual Student and Government Leaders Program.

Click here to see the article in the Wilmette Beacon

What is the League of Student and Government Leaders?

For four decades the Wilmette LWV has helped 8th graders understand our political system from the inside. Students who choose to participate are paired with elected officials and department heads at the Village of Wilmette, The Wilmette Park District, District 39 and District 37 school districts and the Wilmette Public Library.

Each group of students studies an issue that the board is working on using the actual documents and information their mentors use. In recent years St. Joseph's students have analyzed the Gillson Park Lakefront Plan, Wilmette Junior High students have prioritized capital budget items for the VIllage of Wilmette and Marie Murphy students have grappled with issues arising from their district's unique structure straddling several communities.

The students not only learn how their study of the U.S. Constitution relates to their daily lives but also learn how to participate in a meeting using Robert's Rules of Order, the ramifications of the Illinois Open Meetings Act and the skills needed to negotiate with a range of people having different perspectives.

The program culminates with a mock board meeting where the 8th graders take on their mentors' roles in discussing the issues of the day.

Each student is assigned to act as a member of one of the governing bodies. Throughout the fall they will participate in four workshops. The workshops build to the final event of the program, a mock board meeting for each of the governing bodies.

The League spearheads the program and participates directly by teaching public meeting management skills based on Roberts Rules of Order. It also oversees organization of each of the five programs and coordinates content so that all students come away with a better understanding of how government meetings, budgets and professional management activities are conducted.