I was thrilled to get this 'thank you' note from the students at the Living Education Center (LEC) I spoke with on Tuesday Oct. 30 about public service and being a candidate for public office. Notes like this are one of the greatest rewards I get from being an active and involved citizen, and occasional lecturer. I am also greatly encouraged about the future of Charlottesville, Virginia, the United States, and the world to know that students like those I met at LEC might soon be taking on leadership roles in our society. I would not be surprised to see members of this group become more visible in discussing the issues of the day in the very near future. Of course, I challenged them to consider being more actively involved in the community and even to consider becoming candidates for elected office once they actually reach voting age and are eligible to be candidates.
I was also very impressed by the questions asked by the students in our 50 minute question and answer period. I am sure we could have continued for another 50 minutes if there was more time available before their next class.
Clearly, there is no shortage of young people concerned about our future and eager to learn how they can get involved and make contributions toward a better community. I hope we all do our part in nurturing this eagerness and include them and their ideas in meeting the many challenges we will face in the future.
I look forward to day when I can contribute to the campaign fund of one of these students when they announce their interest in becoming an elected official. If I am fortunate enough to be elected to Charlottesville City Council on Nov. 6, I will try to find ways to get students from all of our local schools involved in the city. Some cities in Virginia actually have student members on their local school boards. Perhaps we should consider choices like this on our school board and on other commissions and boards, too. But, if not as members of a commission or board, I will also encourage students to become involved, perhaps as interns, in working toward any of the education, housing, transportation, environmental protection, or other issues needing creative ideas and citizen participation. Based on the interest demonstrated by this group of students, I think our future will be in good hand - as long as we invite them now into the process and work together toward our common goals.
I especially thank Ernie Reed, director of LEC for inviting me to spend this time with his students. I hope this turns out to be time well spent by all involved. I suppose this blog entry is my public 'it was truly my pleasure' rejoinder to the 'thank you' note from the students at LEC.