PITTSBURG — On Kansas Day, Lakeside fourth grade students opened Just Imagine, Kansas, with a ribbon cutting and all. 

Each year, fourth grade students learn about supply and demand, and what the area businesses are and what they do. They also learn about government and services provided within communities. 

“We are celebrating the opening of our Just Imagine, Kansas, which is a learning project for our students to understand about communities, civic responsibility, governance and they get to see the partnerships that we have with our businesses and community members on how a community thrives,” Lakeside Principal Rhonda White said. 

Their little city, set up in Lakeside’s auditorium, consisted of booths where the students had their businesses set up. The students even wrote their own vision statements for their businesses. 

Each business had an “owner” who had to guide the employees and sign checks. Speaking of checks, each employee received a paycheck for their hard work. The check would then be spent at the other shops and services. 

According to one of the students Natalie Enoch, she was pretty excited Wednesday morning to go to school — she had the honor of being governor. That morning she told her mother “I really want to run for governor when I’m older,” Natalie said. She was also “happy” that she got to work with her best friend Haley Stinebaugh, who was the governor’s assistant. 

While Natalie had to talk in front of the “city” and make sure the businesses were going smooth, Haley greeted people at the door and helped everyone sign in. It was her “office” where the police officers would bring tickets and where people come to pay their dues. 

Yes, you can get ticketed at this event. 

Untied shoes? That’s a ticket. 

Running? That’s also a ticket. 

Another student, Kaden Clay, got to be a doctor from the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas. He measured the weight and height, along with the temperature of Becky Keller, mother of fourth grade student Lauryn Keller. 

“This is a great, great opportunity for them to get to understand what it’s like to be in an actual business and having to actually work for their paycheck versus getting it from their mom and dad,” Becky Keller said. 

The students worked excel sheets at the “bank”, restaurants served pizza and ice cream and more. Their principal applauded the students' efforts. 

“It is amazing to see these students transform into young adults,” White said, adding that with the students’ vision statements and research they came to understand how they can contribute to their city, White said.