High School students run the city for a day


By Kaitlin Hoskins, News Editor

Thanks to the YMCA of the Coosa Valley, high school students from Gadsden City High School got a chance to see city government up close and in action.

During the annual Youth in Government Day on Tuesday, April 23, students followed city councilmembers, department heads, library director, police and fire chiefs, superintendent of Gadsden City Schools, city clerk’s office and Mayor Craig Ford as they went about their morning routines.

Students also attended both the city council work session and the city council meeting before breaking for lunch and returning to council chambers at City Hall to hold their own council meeting.

“I can promise you this — you all in this room are our future leaders,” Ford said before the group was assigned to their mentors for the day. “One day many of you will be elected officials or leaders. You don’t have to be an elected official to be a leader. You can be a leader in your family. You can be a leader in your church. You can be a leader in the community. You can be a leader working with the Y. I’m excited y’all are here today.”

Ford went on to tell the students about a local success story thanks, in part, to the Youth in Government Program the YMCA offers.

“Brett Johnson, my chief of staff, he came through this program,” Ford said. “He came to work for me in Montgomery when I was minority leader. He’s worked with me on some campaigns. Brett has always been there with me.”

The group of about 20 students were then assigned mentors and learned separate areas of local governance and the history of the people who filled those roles in the past.

The program will also have students travel to Montgomery to participate in aspects of the legislature later this year.

For more information about the YMCA of the Coosa Valley, visit the organization’s Facebook page.

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