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Elected learning

State government officials visit classroom

Eighth grader Patton Rottman wanted to know how and why the state officials visiting his classroom decided to get into an election race. “I just wonder what motivated them to do it,” he said. The answers may or may not have motivated Patton to follow in their footsteps, but he and his classmates did learn a bit about how state government runs.

Sen. Peter MacGregor and Rep. Mark Huizenga were recent guests in teacher Mar Higgins’ social studies classroom at Sparta Middle School. The representatives spent time answering questions from students before meeting with members of the middle school student government.

One item on both the students’ and legislators’ minds was the effect that term limits has on the state legislature.

Addressing what he considers the biggest problem of term limits, MacGregor told students that he works closely with the former senator. “We rely heavily on his expertise and work closely together to make sure the people of our area are well represented,” he said.

Accompanying the current legislators was former state Rep. Rob VerHeulen, who plans to return to the classroom during the spring semester for some project-based education, Higgins said.

Students and government teacher Mar Higgins listen to the presentation
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Janice Holst
Janice Holst
Janice Holst is a reporter covering Kent City and Sparta. She has been both a teacher and a journalist. A former MLive reporter, she wrote features and covered local government and schools for Advance Newspapers for nearly two decades. She also was a recipe columnist and wrote features for Mature Life Style and occasional entertainment pieces for On The Town magazines. She lives in Sparta Township and enjoys spending some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio or email Janice.


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