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Juniors Explore How to Citizen in Mock City Council Meeting at City Hall

Juniors Explore How to Citizen in Mock City Council Meeting at City Hall

By Taryn Valverde

On Wednesday March 13th, AHS juniors ventured downtown to City Hall to enact the inaugural Mock City Council meeting as part of their “How to Citizen” Humanities project. Students played the roles of City Councilors and other key city officials, as well as representing members of the public and the press. The main substance of this meeting was to discuss potential proposed improvements to the skateboarding facilities at Schneider Park. 

Two groups of students representing engaged citizens did extensive research and offered proposals on how to improve the skatepark. One group proposed to repair cracked concrete, add lights, and a year round water fountain, and the other group advocated to build a roof over the facility with built in lights. Both groups of students argued passionately for the idea they worked on. It was clear that they genuinely cared about the issue.

The AHS City Councilors ultimately decided to go for the less expensive proposal for the repairs, lights, and water fountain. “Mayor” Plant O’Kane shared her logic for her vote: “I voted based on the information we were given. There wasn’t as much information as I hoped for the roof project, and the budget wasn’t specific enough. There were some counterpoints I heard from the public participation that swayed my thinking.” 

Marlow Mullens was part of the group that proposed a new roof over the skatepark. Although the City Council voted against his proposal, Marlow learned a lot about being a citizen. He shared, “I learned how to participate in our community and how the system works to get new things in our town. It takes a lot of work and research and collaboration. You have to know your stuff to get it done.”

11th grade Humanities teacher Alec Johnson, who has spearheaded this new project and hopes to continue it into the future, commented on what he intended his students take away from this meeting: “I hope for students to get a couple things: one, I want them to have a better understanding than I did when I was younger about how local politics function, as well as a sense of personal authority that they can get involved in and it’s not unattainable, or inexcusable. I also hope they get an experience of agency and they can identify a thing that they feel is important and they want to make a change in.” 

Junior Gavin Nicoly reflected on his learning: “This is teaching me how to be a part of the community, and also a respectful citizen. It's cool to see how everyone works well each other as well as building off each other’s ideas.“

Beautiful work, juniors! 


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