Junior Girl Scout Troop 30984 (Grades 4-5) from Port Carbon might be ten years away from casting their first election ballots, but that hasn’t stopped them from learning the importance of voting, which they showcased at their inaugural Citizen of the Year spaghetti dinner held on Sunday, Dec. 6th at the MarLin Fire Company.
While over 20 citizens were nominated by Girl Scouts for the honor, Mrs. Susan Ebling, a third grade teacher from John S. Clark Elementary School in Pottsville took home the title of Citizen of the Year.
The Girl Scout troop was in the process of earning their Citizen Badge and was encouraged to think of the qualities that make a good citizen and nominate a person in their community that exemplifies those qualities.
The Girl Scouts then nominated a citizen and wrote an essay about why their nominee should be named Citizen of the Year. Candidates ranged in occupations from teachers to policemen and nurses to grandparents.
“I nominated Mrs. Ebling for many reasons. The two main reasons are Mrs. Ebling always makes school fun and when we took the PSSA's Mrs. Ebling would play a song based on the PSSA's,” explained Abbey Garrity, 10, from Pottsivlle. “The PSSA's are a big test and the song was for the class to get excited and not be nervous.”
The Girl Scouts then presented their nomination to the troop and narrowed down to three candidates. A ballot was made and a vote was cast for Citizen of the Year. What seemed like a simple process was filled with important lessons on the power of voting.
The Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) has found that Girl Scouts are civically engaged at an early age. Research has shown that “Seventy-nine percent of girls have some form of voting experience, including voting for something or someone themselves” (Running for a Change: Girls and Politics Pulse Poll; Oct. 2014).
“My voice counts,” said Faith Toothaker, 10, from MarLin. “I get to have a say in who is a good citizen. I got to vote on a voter card to cast my ballot and honor someone that does so much for our community.”
All the nominees were honored by their Girl Scout at the award ceremony, enjoyed a spaghetti dinner, and learned how much they mean to the Girl Scouts in their community.
“As a teacher, you always want to give everything and make a difference,” said Mrs. Ebling. “Tonight my students gave me tenfold back and it is the best night of my life.”