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July 30, 2008
Contact: Barbara Ballard, Dole Institute of Politics, (785) 864-4900.

Dole Institute of Politics welcomes teachers for civic engagement conference

LAWRENCE — The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas is hosting 20 teachers from around the state for the first Government and History High School Teacher Conference today and Thursday, July 31.

This year’s theme is “Civic Engagement and Election 2008.” Selected teachers will discuss the significance of young people becoming involved in civic engagement, public service and national, state and local elections. The 2003 report “The Civic Mission of Schools” stated that, “Individuals do not automatically become free and responsible citizens, but must be educated for citizenship.”

“We wanted to host this conference because most of our youth need to be better prepared to participate in their government and community,” said Bill Lacy, director of the Dole Institute. “The addition of this yearly conference is another way to help us achieve our mission of civic engagement here at the Dole Institute.”

“Research has suggested that students who receive government and civic education are more likely to stay involved in current events, political issues and their communities,” said Barbara Ballard, associate director of the Dole Institute. “This conference will focus on ways teachers can educate students about how they can and why they should participate.”

With the added poignancy of an election year, youth voting (ages 18 to 24) and civic interest is reaching record highs. To help focus the discussion, the conference will feature a number of presenters including elected officials, professors and teachers.

History and government teachers across the state were invited to apply for the opportunity. The Dole Institute provides one night’s lodging, meals and transportation reimbursement.

This year’s teacher participants are:

Vicki Arndt-Helgesen, Shawnee Mission East High School, Prairie Village
Lisa Benge, Shawnee Mission West High School, Overland Park
Michael Chamberland, Sedan High School
M. Renee Dawson, Garden City High School
Bianca Elliott, Lansing High School
Eldon Evans, Louisburg High School
Jeremy Foster, Great Bend High School
David Fulkerson, Leavenworth High School
Bill Gollier, Bishop Seabury Academy, Lawrence
Beth Jantsch, Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, Shawnee
Tim Overman, Highland Park High School, Topeka
Susan Perkins, Goddard High School
Rick Reed, McPherson High School
Tim Shea, Spring Hill High School
Susan Smith, Hutchinson High School
Paul Stuewe, Blue Springs High School, Blue Springs, Mo.
Ken Thomas, Blue Valley Northwest High School, Overland Park
Tim Warsnak, Halstead High School
Blanche Wulfekoetter, Jefferson West High School, Meriden

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