AHS Students Shine at 2011 Student Government Day

# AHS students ran a mock City Council meeting on the Plaza mayhem issue.

Arcata High School City Council tackles Plaza troubles, by Colin Swenson

- by Arcata High School student journalist Colin Swenson. Reprinted with permission from The Arcata Eye.

CITY HALL - Every year, members of the Arcata High School Student Government, the Leadership Class and the Journalism class meet with members of the City of Arcata's government for Student Government Day. This event is designed to take students who may have an interest in politics and show them how "real world" government functions, by participating in a mock city council meeting.

Each student is assigned to act as a corresponding member of the community. "I interned under Dan Diemer from Public Works," Leadership student Zoe Tinseth said. "The opportunity was really fun and I learned a lot too."

After students have a chance to meet and talk with their mentor, they then take their roles for the mock meeting.

"Mayor" Felicia Watson, also Arcata High School ASB President, started things off in the usual fashion with the Pledge of Allegiance and roll call.

The only item on the agenda for the day was then brought to the table: taking steps to adopt a policy to prevent the vandalism that occurs on the Plaza on evenings such as Halloween and New Year's.

Students who were acting as citizens attending the meeting first offered their opinions. Taylor Gleave was playing a member of the Garden Society. "Our community looked nice, and they just trashed it," she offered.

Another student, representing an average citizen, Clayton Wilson, stated his opinion. "I think we should keep partying on the Plaza," he said. "We should keep climbing on the statue, it's like a jungle gym!"

The meeting continued for the next half an hour with members of the faux-government offering their "expert" opinions and shooting around ideas.

Solutions such as an alternative event at the Arcata Community Center or Redwood Acres Fairgrounds were proposed, as well as fencing off the whole Plaza, or at least the McKinley statue.

Finally, "Councilmember" Nadia Al-Yagout made a movement. "I move to direct the City manager to work with the relevant community partners to form an "Ad Hoc" working group to address options for a managed night time event for Halloween on the Plaza; and to incorporate everyone's comments from today. And with this, report back to the council at our next meeting."

"Vice-Mayor" Rebecca Smith amended the motion to include putting temporary fencing around the McKinley Statue. The motion was then passed, and the meeting concluded.

Overall, the day was considered a success by all, students and City Officials alike seemed pleased with the overall outcome of the meeting, and learning experience. "You guys are actually further on this issue than we are" Mayor Michael Winkler said with a smile.

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Some photos from 2011 Student Government Day

2011 Student Govt Day students and mentors