Mighty Acorns Preschool students learn the operations of Nevada City public works officials | TheUnion.com

Mighty Acorns Preschool students learn the operations of Nevada City public works officials

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

Kids in hard hats.

That was the scene at the Nevada City Department of Public Works headquarters Monday. A small group of preschool students entered the open area, a “Welcome Mighty Acorns” electric sign flashing before them.

Tyana Maddock wanted to expose her students to the community, teaching them to be good stewards of their town. The teacher and owner of the Mighty Acorns Preschool said her mother, Katie, came up with the idea of introducing students to the role of public works officials two years ago.

Tyana Maddock coordinated with the superintendent of public works, Bubba Highsmith, and he in turn cleared the event with Nevada City Manager Catrina Olson.

“How cool would it be to show public works to the community from a kid’s perspective?”— Bubba Highsmith Superintendent of public works

This is the second year Mighty Acorns Preschool students gathered on the public works grounds. They were given plastic hard hats, safety glasses and safety vests that read “Work Zone.”

Public works officials said they began repositioning all of their equipment for display at 7 a.m. Later that morning, they demonstrated to the kids the operations of a street sweeper, roller, dirt vacuum machine, wood chipper and heated up thermoplastic on the ground to showcase the process of creating crosswalk signage.

“That thing gets up to 800 degrees,” said Highsmith, referring to the heater that helped mark the ground with thermoplastic.

In recent memory, Tyana Maddock said her students have visited the city’s police station, post office, fire station, library as well as assisted living homes. The teacher said her goal is to ensure students play a positive role in the environment and are good citizens.

“How can you be good stewards when you grow up?” is something Tyana Maddock frequently asks her students.

For his part, Highsmith thought it would be nice to introduce the agency to young students.

“How cool would it be to show public works to the community from a kid’s perspective?” he asked rhetorically.

In addition to seeing the equipment in action, under the supervision of public works officials, students also got to use the backhoe, which digs and excavates material from the ground. Highsmith said some of the officials, like Bob Sanchez, found it amusing the students were taught to use the equipment before they were.

“‘They get to learn before I do,’” Sanchez had said, jovially complaining to Highsmith. Highsmith assured him he would learn later that day.

Tyana Maddock said her students enjoyed the event, but public officials like Sanchez found it meaningful too.

“It’s a nice change of pace,” said Sanchez.

Toward the end of their time with public works officials, Tyana Maddock asked her students what it was public works officials do each day.

“Fix the roads,” two students cheered in unison.

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at scorey@theunion.com.


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