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Students present proposals at City Council meeting

Some+groups+received+a+badge%2C+seen+here%2C+after+their+presentations+to+the+City+Council+on+May+22.
Some groups received a badge, seen here, after their presentations to the City Council on May 22.

Some groups received a badge, seen here, after their presentations to the City Council on May 22.

Some groups received a badge, seen here, after their presentations to the City Council on May 22.

Owen Stewart, Sports Editor

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As an alternative to AP Government and other social studies classes, some seniors and the occasional junior decide to enroll in a Government Field Experience class, where the students visit different places around Harrisonburg, such as the police station and fire department, and then choose a topic for a final project, which they then present at a city council meeting.

Five groups presented their presentations at the May 22 meeting, with one of those groups including senior Sydney Pigott. Her group decided to focus on creating a teen council centered around Harrisonburg Parks & Recreation and participation at the Rec Center. Pigott and her group noticed that as kids, including themselves, get older, they begin to feel disconnected from the Rec Center and stop attending its activities.

“We chose the [teen council] because we realized the issue [of falling participation] because we’ve experienced it in our own lives,” Pigott said.

Prior to presenting their solution, Pigott and the rest of her group went through a process of contacting Rec Center representative who could help them put together their presentation.

“We got in contact with their manager and she helped out a lot. She was very professional and she had rational ideas. We also just grouped together; we all had ideas, so we made sure everyone’s input was included in some way, somehow,” Pigott said.

Pigott’s group presented their ideas, centered around having a coalition of middle and high school representatives who would make up the teen council and stay connected to the Rec Center throughout their high school years. Some of their other ideas included having teen movie nights and making a teen hangout room at the Rec Center, with activities geared more towards the 12-17 age range. Overall, Pigott believes that her group did a good job of getting their points across.

“We think we did pretty well for the presentation, even though we had to go first so we were pretty nervous. The mayor is really scary to look at, just getting that across. We think we did good; we got in everything we needed to say and it was professional,” Pigott said.

Pigott also saw some encouraging signs that the members of the city council were buying their ideas, and is hopeful they could be implemented in the future.

“I think they thought it was a good idea. We saw a lot of head nods, which could either be good or bad, but we took it as good. I think they sense this as a problem that obviously is not solved yet. [Our solution] doesn’t cost that much so we hope it happens,” Pigott said.

The other four groups made pitches for other new amenities, such as adding more visible speed limit signs in front of the high school, and building a traffic garden for kids to learn the rules of the road.  

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Students present proposals at City Council meeting