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February 28, 2024

Nearly 60 Advanced Placement (AP) Government students, from all three public high schools, were treated to a very special Bedford ONE Tour. This tour was strategically designed to highlight some of the local government services the county is responsible for providing its citizens.
The day began with an official welcome from County Administrator Robert Hiss, who shared demographic information about the county, some of his main responsibilities, and explained a little about the county budget and how that is calculated based on the tax rate.
Students were broken up into several groups and rotated between three designated areas, as different departments presented information about their respective roles. They met and heard from Constitutional Officers including the Commissioner of the Revenue, the Treasurer, and the Clerk of Court.
Judge Updike from Circuit Court and Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Stacey Stickney (a JF graduate) from General District Court spoke to students about their roles and responsibilities. Afterwards, students were able to hear part of a court case in Judge Krantz’s courtroom.
Both the Deputy County Administrator and Assistant County Administrators educated students on waste management processes, including terms students were unfamiliar with such as leachate and PFAS and how those impact waste in general.
Community Development put together a real-life planning commission hearing which allowed students the opportunity to sit on the dais, listen to, preside over, and vote on an actual Bedford County case from 2020. This hearing allowed students to ask pointed questions about the hearing, briefly review concept plans, and subsequently vote on the planning hearing (which students in both groups passed, by a 5-2 vote and 4-3 vote).
Opportunities like this help educate the next generation of citizens. It also allows students a broad overview of the breadth and depth of services that our 21-department county offers its constituents.
The Bedford ONE Program is a five-way career exploration partnership between the Office of Bedford County Economic Development, the Bedford County Economic Development Authority, Bedford County Public Schools, Central Virginia Community College, and our local business partners.