“I sat in traffic court and that was interesting. I learned a lot that I didn’t know already about the law,” McKenna Maulden, a junior at Cass High School who shadowed under Probate Judge Mitchell Scoggins, said, adding she has considered pursuing a career in the legal system. “... My favorite part was definitely sitting in on the court session and seeing how things ran.”
Deputy Clerk of Probate Court Paige Boston said the court appreciated being able to provide young people a glimpse into the legal system and spoke highly of Maulden.
“I really enjoyed speaking with McKenna [Maulden]. She seems to know what she wants ... career-wise,” Boston said. “A lot of people don’t realize we do traffic, also we do wills, we do marriage licenses, firearm licenses and birth amendments ...
“I tried to show her all the ropes, but I really wanted her to sit in on traffic court because we do see a lot of young people come in for speeding, young people come in with underage drinking and DUI and I think a lot of people don’t realize that. I was glad she got to see that because if you’re 21 years old or younger and you’re caught speeding, you do what is called the Teen Victim Impact class, and we do that on a quarterly basis. It’s mandatory that they attend that class.”
Beyond the role of court, students, such as Cartersville High School sophomore Adam Harper, were placed into roles like a Cartersville City Board of Education member.
“We actually participated on the school board as a whole and what we did as a school board ... was discuss issues and topics on the school board and how we would handle them,” Harper said. “We talked about the Saturday school thing we had [recently due to inclement weather] and the pros and cons as a legislative body.”
Following the students’ shadowing opportunities, students from each school, along with their mentors, reconvened at the Cartersville Civic Center for lunch, provided by Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse, as well as recognition for completing the program. Congressional Candidate Barry Loudermilk also spoke during the program on the importance of youth building the future of America while looking at the past for inspiration.
“If you know the past of this nation, you’ll realize we’ve been in this position before. In fact, we find ourselves in worse conditions than we’ve been in today,” Loudermilk said. “... When those 56 gentlemen signed the Declaration of Independence, they were putting their very lives on the line ...
“... There is hope for America and the hope for America sits at the tables right here [at this program]. What you’ve learned today, take that and move forward and keep your eyes on your goal, whatever that goal is, and don’t let your circumstances deter you from what God has created you to do.”
Randell Trammell, state executive director and CEO for the state YMCA of Georgia, said the influence of Civic Youth Day in Bartow County is spreading to neighboring communities.
“I’m proud to report that after 58 years in Bartow County, this program is now spreading across the state,” Trammell said. “In a few weeks Paulding County will be doing their first-ever Civic Youth Day. Next fall Gwinnett County, Muscogee County and a number of other counties will follow suit as well, so [more] students will be learning government by doing it.”