Howard County Council Chairman Calvin Ball Visits Wilde Lake to Hear Student Feedback
January 9, 2017
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Dr. Calvin Ball, chairman of the Howard County Council, visited Wilde Lake on Wednesday, December 14 to hear the students give their opinions and ask questions about the social atmosphere in Howard County.
Dr. Ball wanted to get a better idea of the day-to-day activities of the students and faculty members.
“I really wanted to listen to the students,” said Dr. Ball. “I wanted to let them know that their representatives are engaged, care about the issues that they care about, and want to increase our partnership, so that we can work on some of these big issues.”
Dr. Ball wanted to emphasize the role that the council plays in the students’ individual lives and provide an outlet for them to voice their opinions.
He stated that his primary concern was to “help [students] understand more about the county council and its role in serving our community. My favorite part is answering questions so that the students are engaged and I can help address any lingering questions or concerns that they have.”
To do this, he held a gathering in the JRT during Wilde Cat time where he gave a speech about his political career and fielded questions that students had about public policy, school climate, and politics.
The event was well attended, as most of the US government students were there.
He began by delineating his rocky journey to becoming a successful councilman. A couple of years after graduating from college, Dr. Ball ran for Howard County Council and lost. After this defeat, Dr. Ball was reluctant to run for office again.
Eventually, after hearing that the winner of the previous election would be giving up his spot and endorsing Dr. Ball, he ran for council and was successfully elected. As a councilman, he helped allocate the budget and made establishing good relations with schools a priority.
His story was met with applause and laughter, and several students participated by asking questions.
He held an open question session where students could voice their concerns. One student asked how student voices could be heard by policymakers, and Dr. Ball replied by saying “you can work on various campaigns that you believe in.”
He also said that it is important for people to contact the Council in order to have their concerns heard. Student participation in politics was his main concern, and he stressed the point that anyone has the potential to make an impact on their community.
Some students felt optimistic about the talk, and thought that it provided a helpful source of knowledge.
Sophomore Tierra Burris felt that Dr. Ball was receptive to student questions.
“I asked about legislation that’s already been implemented and how we can change what they’ve already decided on. I do not like a lot of [the council’s actions], actually,” said Burris. “ It’s hard to get the amount of flexibility you need for students and for time in school and for teachers especially.”
Overall, students felt as if the event was a learning experiences.
“I learned how to change legislature.” said Burris. “That was something that I didn’t know before.”