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Residents graduate from academy
Participant: Everyone should be required to take the class
Citizens Academy pic
Myrna Ruiz was one of almost three dozen Dawson County Citizen Academy graduates last week. The 10-week course is designed to give participants an insiders look at local government operations. Commission Chair Mike Berg presented completion certificates at Riverview Middle School on Nov. 16. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

The 2010 class of Dawson County’s Citizen Academy came to a close last week with a commencement ceremony at Riverview Middle School.


Designed to give participants an insider’s look at local government operations, the 10-week course was described as an “eye-opener” by several graduates.


“This course has really opened my eyes to what the county does and what it does for me,” said Ivan Ruiz, who attended the classes with his wife, Myrna.


The couple moved to Dawsonville about three years ago from Marietta and were surprised to learn the county offered the course.


“We had never been involved in any sort of county government. Actually we really didn’t know too much about it,” Ruiz said. “Moving to Dawson actually gave us that opportunity when we heard about the citizens academy. It’s really beneficial.”


Taught by Dawson County government staff, the course gives participants an up-close look at the inner workings of county government through one-on-one interaction with local officials and those responsible for day-to-day operations of government.


Donna Hanson said she wished she and her husband, Pat, had taken the course years ago.


“You don’t realize what’s involved in the running of a county government. It’s very enlightening,” she said. “I’m going to tell our neighbors and anybody I meet that they should do it so they’ll learn more about the county they live in.”


For Catherine Smith, the course could lead to further involvement in county government.


“The course just opened up doors for me, because I had no idea what went on in the different county departments. It’s a true education.” she said. “I’ve been telling everybody about it.”


Jason Reed said he’s also been talking the program up to friends and family.


“It clarified a lot of questions that my family and friends had misleading information about in the past. I recommend it to everyone,” he said. “I think everyone should be required to take it.”


For more information, or to have your name placed on the list for next year’s academy, call Cathy Brooks at (706) 344-3501.