As Bainbridge High School students assume city jobs and city council positions for one day. The event was part of the annual program where the city and high school partner for a hands-on educational experience. Government teacher Gina Burke, who has organized the experience for years, said this year was unique in that only three boys participated — a whopping majority of the 36 students were female. -- Ashley Johnson
As Bainbridge High School students assume city jobs and city council positions for one day. The event was part of the annual program where the city and high school partner for a hands-on educational experience. Government teacher Gina Burke, who has organized the experience for years, said this year was unique in that only three boys participated — a whopping majority of the 36 students were female.
Photo by: Ashley Johnson
 

Students take over city council responsibilities for one day

Published 2:01pm Saturday, November 2, 2013

For more than 15 years, the City of Bainbridge has taken around some of the best and brightest Bainbridge High School has to offer and broadened their scope of city government duties and responsibilities by letting them shadow city workers.
This week 36 students got hands-on with work in all departments, working in the water waste and sewage treatment plant, riding along with public safety officers and even sending out tweets and Facebook updates for parks and recreation.
Bainbridge High School government teacher Gina Burke has been coordinating the special day for the students since 1994.
“The students sign up for whatever position they want and if there are more than two that sign up for something we have to hold an election,” Burke said. There were five elections in her class this year.
Students also compromise a mock city council and Wednesday, the students, sitting in the council chambers of city hall with city workers present, decided they would use correctional facility inmates for picking up litter and arranged for more parking on the square.
“This is for them to get an appreciation for local government and the services it provides because a lot of the kids just think, ‘oh Bainbridge is so small,’ but I think they are shocked when they realize how many millions of dollars and people it takes to provide all of this,” Burke said.
Adrienne Harrison with the City of Bainbridge said it gives students a better picture of how things work and what goes into making a city function.
“It’s a great way to show them how our city functions, they know that their garbage can gets picked up, but they don’t know everything behind why their garbage gets picked up, and how it gets picked up. They know they get a ticket but they don’t know why they get a ticket, or what you do after getting a ticket — so it really shows them what’s going on behind the scenes and hopefully gives them a better appreciation for the city they live in.”
Students Olivia Walker and Malasia Taylor were the most noticeably affected students from the program during their presentation to city workers on what they learned. Walker worked with the sewage plant, while Taylor followed around public safety director Eric Miller.
“Everybody thinks the sewage plant is gross, but it would even be more gross without it even being there,” Walker said, who also rattled off information on the processes at the plant where microorganisms are used.

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36 students who participated in the city council day pose in the council chamber after their presentation to public officials.

Taylor said her experience showed her that public safety directors don’t just give tickets or respond to calls as she thought they would.
“They are actually really involved in the community and they do so much more than just respond to calls, which they only do if there is a serious incident,” Taylor said.”
Both students agree they feel that Bainbridge is a city bigger than what they previously believed.

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