Kids learn how a city works

Meadow View Elementary School students take a tour of the Alabaster Fire Station on Butler Road on April 9. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

Meadow View Elementary School students take a tour of the Alabaster Fire Station on Butler Road on April 9. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Meadow View Elementary School second-grader Luke Roberts couldn’t believe it when he saw where his neighbor, Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon, works each day.

“The mayor lives in my neighborhood,” Roberts said as he and about 35 of his classmates toured Alabaster City Hall on April 9. “I can’t believe the mayor works in a place this nice.”

The mayor’s office wasn’t the only thing to catch Roberts’ interest during the tour.

“I liked the metal detector (at the entrance to Municipal Court),” Roberts said as he was preparing to get on the bus to head to the Alabaster YMCA. “It was so much bigger than I though a metal detector would be.”

Throughout the day on April 9, groups of MVES second-graders toured the Alabaster fire station on Butler Road, the Publix grocery store, the Alabaster Library and had lunch at Veterans Park before heading to City Hall, the Alabaster City Schools office and the Alabaster YMCA.

While touring City Hall, Alabaster City Council members Scott Brakefield and Sophie Martin explained the council’s process behind taking information from the mayor and city manager and using it to make informed decisions during council meetings.

MVES second-grade teacher Anna Hix said she was surprised at her students’ enthusiasm during the tours.

“It’s part of our social studies curriculum to see the ins and outs of how a city works,” Hix said while the students learned about the Alabaster Senior Center. “They are so enthusiastic about it.

“We have to keep telling them not to push and shove,” Hix said. “They aren’t doing it to be rude or anything. They are just so enthusiastic to see things.”

The kids’ stop at Publix was especially popular, Hix said.

“You’ll see some of the kids say ‘I want to work in the bakery at Publix’ after they see how it works,” Hix said. They are already setting goals. It’s one thing to hear about how things work in class, and it’s another for them to see it in person.”