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Vacula (click for larger version)
Splisgardt (click for larger version)
May 27, 2014 | 12:11 PM
WALWORTH — They don’t look like typical village board meeting attendees.

In fact, during the May 12 Walworth Village Board meeting, Village President David Rasmussen asked them to introduce themselves because their faces were so unfamiliar.

Katy Vacula and Emily Splisgardt, juniors at Big Foot High School, are the Geneva Lake West Chamber of Commerce interns this summer.

They aren’t 18-years-old yet, but their internship with the chamber puts them up close and personal with local government.

Vacula said club advisers at Big Foot were asked to refer possible students for the internship.

“Our advisers thought we would get a lot out of this,” she said. Splisgardt said she talked with the previous year’s interns to learn more about the program.

“You’re just able to find out all these things you never knew (about government),” Splisgardt said.

Both live in Walworth and say they aren’t “really interested in governance, at least not as a career.”

“It’s all really interesting,” Vacula said. “But I don’t see myself in it as a career. It’s just good to know how it works.”

As part of the internship program, Vacula and Splisgardt have to attend 10 meetings in the community, including a village board meeting and a school board meeting. After the program ends this fall, they’ll present to the chamber and to their classmates about the experience. Their reward for attending the meetings and reporting back on what they’ve learned is $500.

“And also the knowledge from the experience,” Splisgardt said. “It’s not just about the money, of course.”

So far, Splisgardt and Vacula have been attending meetings together.

For the future

Neither Splisgardt or Vacula said they were interested in government or public sector administration as careers, but they both think the internship will help them understand how changes happen at local levels of government.

Splisgardt said it’s interesting to see how all the small issues come together, when most of the residents only hear about big issues.

“It’ll give us the confidence to deal with governments if we need to when we’re older,” she said. “We’ll know how it works, how residents fit into it.”

Splisgardt said she doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do after high school.

“I like the performing arts, I like to sing,” she said. “I would probably go to an art school in a big city.”

Vacula said she doesn’t know either.

“Maybe English or science,” she said.

Splisgardt said they’re both writers. “We both like to write a lot,” she said. “We like to peer edit each other’s papers for class. I imagine we’ll continue to do some kind of writing.”


Tags: Geneva Lake West

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