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A civics lesson from the mayor
Figueras shares knowledge with students
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Gainesville Mayor Myrtle Figueras calls on a student during a visit on Friday to Gainesville Exploration Academy. - photo by Tom Reed

Fifth-graders at Gainesville Exploration Academy got a lesson in civic duty straight from Gainesville Mayor Myrtle Figueras.

Janice Deerwester, a fifth-grade teacher at Gainesville Exploration Academy, said Figueras was part of the school’s civics day, which was prompted by President Barack Obama’s recent speech to kids encouraging them to serve in their communities.

Figueras spoke Friday to the four classes and explained why she wanted to become mayor.

"When you say that you’re running for office in Gainesville, Ga., you’re saying you want to serve people," she said. "I had been serving people in Gainesville city schools for 30 years, and I wasn’t ready to stop."

The mayor told students how she plunked down $660 at the city clerk’s office in 1996 and qualified to run for Gainesville City Council. She explained how ballots and voting work and encouraged students to register to vote just before they turn 18.

Deerwester said she tries to teach students that people in the community all live and work together. Everyone, even students, have a role in shaping the cities, counties and states of America.

"I have a lot of kids who want to be doctors or lawyers or nurses, and they focus a lot on the money, which is understandable for our children," she said. "But we also want to show that people do things in the community that aren’t for money."

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