Five local high school students recently addressed the City of Belleville council to express their gratitude to council and staff for the invaluable opportunities and experiences they gained from participating in the ‘Mayor of the Week’ program.
Funded by the City of Belleville and the Rotary Club of Belleville, the program provides secondary school students with first-hand experience in municipal politics. Students are given the opportunity to meet and shadow senior municipal staff, tour various departments and facilities and experience for themselves the inner workings and operations of a municipality.
City of Belleville Mayor Ellis introduced the participants and thanked them for their active participation and enthusiasm over the past week. Each student expressed their appreciation to council, staff, and the Rotary Club of Belleville for the opportunity. They also provided their perspectives on the program, highlighting its significance and impact on their understanding of local government.
One participant shared that the program sparked her interest in pursuing political studies in post-secondary education. She said, “It’s been an incredible experience working with all the department heads this past week. As someone who wants to study politics in university, it has been great to see firsthand how municipal politics work – the politics that affect us directly.”
Another student expressed that the program provided her with valuable knowledge about various departments and operations that she would not have otherwise learned. She explained that although her passion is still for computer science, the knowledge she gained from the program will be invaluable for her future, both personally and professionally.
One participant expressed his thanks to his school, Albert College, and the Rotary Club of Belleville, for providing such a unique learning experience with instrumental insights into how the City operates on a day-to-day basis, and all the departments and people that work together to make for the success of the municipality.
As part of the ‘Mayor of the Week’ program, students visit municipal buildings and departments and attend a Rotary Club of Belleville meeting to share their experiences. This connection helps students understand the origin and purpose of this opportunity and also provides them with insight and resources to allow them to engage in their community and get involved with volunteer opportunities through Rotary.
Mayor Ellis emphasized the importance of the ‘Mayor of the Week’ program as an integral educational opportunity for future leaders. He said he hopes the experience has shed light on municipal government and shared his optimism for each of them becoming enlightened in their civic responsibility and leadership for the future of the City.
The participants were: Benjamin Weinstein, of Albert College; Chevy Omolade, of Eastside Secondary School; Hershita Srikanth, of Eastside Secondary School; Shivani Narendranath, of Nicholson Catholic College; and Armando Araujo, of St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School.
For more information on the ‘Mayors of the Week’ program, visit the Rotary Club of Belleville website.