An initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Bringing Bike Safety to Mason City

Kaitlyn T., who won first place in the National Civics Bee® in Mason City, Iowa, wrote her essay on an issue that not only posed a safety concern, but an environmental one as well. Armadillo Lane Dividers are seen throughout large cities in the United States, but Kaitlyn suggested that they can be useful in smaller communities like Mason City.

“I really wanted to write about an issue that focused on environmentalism. I first started reading about public rotation in Mason City, and one of the managers at the Mason City Public Transportation directed me into other forms of transportation that were also environmentally friendly. That’s how I got to know about cycling and Armadillo Lane Dividers and how they promoted cycling in towns, especially in Europe and North America, and I really wanted to bring that to Mason City.”

This was Kaitlyn’s response when asked how she chose her essay topic. She later mentioned that she and her classmates enjoyed picking a topic to discuss at length, as everyone had chosen an issue that they wanted to provide a solution to.

“People who worked at the Mason City Chamber of Commerce came into our classes and talked about the Bee,” replied Kaitlyn when asked what piqued her interest to compete in the National Civics Bee® back in April 2022. This opportunity presented Kaitlyn and her fellow classmates, the chance to compete in something new. In the weeks that led up to the National Civics Bee®, Kaitlyn assembled with friends and received guidance from teachers on how to answer interview questions.

Kaitlyn is now a first year in high school, with AP Human Geography and precalculus as her favorite classes. When asked the big question, “what do you want to be when you grow up,” she proudly stated a nephrologist. Kaitlyn’s parents are both doctors and given the opportunity to see what they do every day; she can see herself in their shoes in her future career.

After Kaitlyn’s experience with the National Civics Bee®, she now looks at civics as “the duties and rights I have as a citizen. How it can better improve my community not only for citizens, but also for the environment and for the betterment of the town as a whole.”

The first finalist to win in the National Civics Bee® pilots, Kaitlyn stated that she learned a lot from the experience and encourages other students to participate in the event because, “you learn more about the town that you’re in and more about the legal process of bringing an idea to life.”

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