5,000 and counting: Edmonton kids flock to City Hall School
'The city is our classroom,' from council chambers to soup kitchens, students experience it all
When many Edmontonians think about city hall, they envision shelling out for property taxes or parking tickets.
But many students in the city are learning there's much more going on at the pointy glass building in the heart of downtown.
The kids do more than just visit council chambers and conduct mock debates.
"We go to the Mustard Seed to make sandwiches for their community, we go to the law courts, we ride the LRT so students have a chance to see what their downtown is all about," said city hall teacher Linda Hut. "The city Is our classroom."
Mayor Don Iveson said the students who get to take part are lucky because when he was a young student, little attention was paid to municipal affairs.
"We didn't talk about local government when I was your age," Iveson explained when meeting a group of students from Waverley School.
"We talked about the province and the federal government but we never talked about cities," Iveson said. "This is one of the best programs we run at city hall."
Iveson said he enjoys seeing students "who are not the least bit cynical yet and are purely curious about what's going on in their city" visit city hall, learn about what goes on there and provide feedback.
Eleven-year-old Harley Dawson said he enjoyed learning about how city government works and thinks the experience will make the students feel more a part of the community.
"What they get is a feeling that they belong in the city, that they have a voice in the city, they have a role as a citizen and they get a sense of connectedness," he said.
You can see more from Edmonton City Hall on Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday and Monday at 11 a.m. on Our Edmonton on CBC TV.