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Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

Teens get inside look at city

Sunday, March 3, 2002

(Photo)
City of Sikeston Park Director Jiggs Moore shows Sikeston Senior High School student Ryan McAnulty the blue prints of R.S. Matthews Park.
SIKESTON - Sikeston High School students got an inside look at what it takes to run a city as they participated in the Youth in Government Day Friday.

Each student was paired with an elected official or a staff member of one of the city's five departments and Board of Municipal Utilities to learn about the job.

At 11 a.m. officials and students gathered in Council Chambers at City Hall for a mock city council meeting.

After Ryan Gibson opened the meeting as mayor, Jeri Nichols filled her role as city clerk by calling the roll.

Scott Heuiser, mock city manager, said the opening prayer, and Adam Miller, sitting in for city counselor, led the room in the Pledge of Allegiance.

After a proclamation was signed and the minutes of previous meetings were approved, the mock council opened the floor to questions and comments for a mock public hearing on the proposed Home Rule Charter which will be placed before Sikeston's voters on April 2.

"I'm old and I don't really understand a lot of these things," said a student playing the role of "Patty," an 80-year old resident. "I don't know if I like this ward system."

In addition to discussing the pros and cons of wards, topics included the mayor selection process and sections of the Charter that deal with conflicts of interest for public officials and initiative, recall and referendum.

"I think that it was a wonderful experience," said Emily Slaten, who was assigned to Councilman Michael Harris. "I really enjoyed it. I hope I'm able to do it again next year."

Being on the city council is "a lot harder than I expected," Slaten said.

"It's going to be our turn to vote soon," said Slaten of her classmates, adding that the Youth in Government Day experience will help them make more educated decisions casting their votes.

Harris said he enjoyed the opportunity to sit back and see the mock council deal with issues that may come up before the council as the April election draws near. "The questions asked by the students were excellent," said Harris.

Harris said it was a great opportunity for students to get a closer look at the obstacles the city council faces and hopes the experience will inspire them to "become more involved with city government."

The students wrapped up the event with a luncheon during which they were presented with participation certificates.

This is the 16th year for the Sikeston Optimist Club-sponsored event. Financial sponsors this year were Tetra Pak, Union Planters Bank and Cargill.