Local Officials Visit Marshall Students Virtually


Students from four classrooms at A.O. Marshall Elementary School were treated to special guests during virtual lessons this week. Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and Joliet City Councilwoman Bettye Gavin joined the third grade students for their social studies lessons. The Mayor and Councilwoman both have visited several classrooms throughout Joliet Public Schools District 86, but never before via Zoom!

The visits, arranged by teachers Emily Clifford, Gabriel Escalante, Maida Sauseda, and Vanessa Serrano, helped the students gain a better understanding on how the city of Joliet works. The students are currently discussing local government and laws in their My Community in Illinois social studies unit. Mayor O’Dekirk shared his job responsibilities and discussed the police, fire, streets, and water departments.

During his visit, Mayor O’Dekirk asked the students how many gallons of water they think are used each day in Joliet. The student guesses included everything between 1,000 gallons to 10,000 gallons a day – not even close to the real answer - 18 million gallons of water a day!

Councilwoman Gavin spoke about how she enjoys helping community members and connecting people to the resources that they need. The Councilwoman also explained to the students that she represents the neighborhood where they live and attend school. She also mentioned her favorite restaurant near the school where many children have visited.

 "I like that he told us how he became mayor and they both told us about their jobs.” Eight-year-old Victor Mejia Diaz said.  

 "Our third graders were thrilled to have the Mayor and Councilwoman join their virtual classroom and help them understand how the city of Joliet works,” A.O. Marshall Elementary Principal Dr. Lisa Marie Moreno added. “We hope to visit City Hall for a field trip after the pandemic.” 

Students and teachers had a chance to ask the Mayor and Councilwoman questions too. In addition to learning how he became mayor, how much he makes being Mayor, and his overall job responsibilities, the students also were excited to learn that the Chicago White Sox is his favorite baseball team and that he plays the drums in a local band.

Eight-year-old Giselle Guzman Reyes was happy to hear that Councilwoman Gavin’s favorite colors are pink and purple.

There were many happy faces during class when the students were told that Halloween is still taking place in Joliet and the Mayor’s wife and Councilwoman Gavin’s three children attended A.O. Marshall Elementary School when they were children. 

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