SOUTH HOLLAND | For once, a man named De Graff did not preside over village government.
In Don De Graff’s place as village president on Monday was Juliana Knot, a student at Calvin Christian School, 528 E. 161st Place, who served for one day as South Holland’s chief executive, all as part of the village’s annual event in which young people get a chance to see their local government up close.
Students from all the public and parochial schools in South Holland were given a chance to compete in the program by writing essays. The winners were given a chance to participate in Monday’s Village Board meeting, which took place at the South Holland Community Center, 501 E. 170th St., to accommodate the large crowd of proud parents who wanted to see their children's big day.
Knot filled in for De Graff, and other students were paired up with the various village trustees and department heads. Prior to Monday, each of those young people had met with their adult counterpart to interview them about their jobs.
On Monday, their portion of the Village Board meeting consisted of the young people giving oral reports on what they learned about local government.
Knot said it was interesting to talk with De Graff, who has served as village president for 19 years.
“I learned things about government I never would have dreamed of,” she said. “It was a very interesting experience.”
De Graff said he also considers the event, which has taken place every year for the past quarter of a century, to be a learning experience.
“I don’t know whether it’s me getting older or not, but each year it seems that the people we meet are more and more mature,” he said.
And as for Knot, does she have any aspirations of replacing De Graff for real some day?
“I don’t think I’ll be doing that any time soon,” she said.