From the left: present for the recent Mayor for the Day program are (front) City of Delavan Human Resource Manager Debra Epping, Municipal Court Clerk Sandi Soucie, Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Lisa Stewart, (back) Delavan Assistant Police Chief James Bilskey, Police Chief Jim Hansen, City Administrator Denise Pieroni, “Mayor for the Day” Jennylee Garcia, Mayor Ryan Schroeder, Recreation Supervisor Mark Schram and CSO Edward Longoria. (Submitted photo)

By Michael S. Hoey

Correspondent

City of Delavan Mayor Ryan Schroeder, during his campaign prior to being elected, said he wanted to institute a Mayor for the Day program designed to get high school students interested in local government. Schroeder was true to his word as Delavan-Darien High School sophomore Jennylee Garcia was the first to participate in the program on Dec. 8.

“As a government teacher, I think it’s invaluable to know and understand the functions of all three levels of government,” DDHS teacher Adam Alter said of the program. “I feel that it is especially important to know and understand the importance of local government as it is the one that has the potential to impact us the most.”

Alter said the program will allow high school students to meet city leaders and bring learning about government closer to home.

Garcia, 16, currently lives in Elkhorn but has spent most of her life living in Delavan and has spent her entire school career in the Delavan-Darien School District. She has been involved in the Comet Mentor program and student council.

Garcia said she has always had academic success with several student of the month awards, a grade point average on the high honor roll and near the top of her class and being elected to the NJHS.

Alter said she’s a model student.

“She comes to class every day ready to participate and always prepared,” he said.

Alter said Garcia has shown nothing but respect for everyone in her class and is the type of student teachers hope to have.

Garcia said she heard about the Mayor for the Day program through school announcements so she filled out a form to explain her interest in participating.

Alter said he got some input from Schroeder about qualifications for the program and then the form was sent out to all students with the requirement to explain why they were interested and the minimum GPA. Garcia was selected from that group while others will be selected in the coming months.

“What got me interested in this program was being curious about what the mayor does for the town and whether politics or government work is something I would like to consider in the future,” Garcia said.

While politics has not always been something Garcia has been overly interested in, she said she has always been aware of what is going on in the world at national and local levels. She said she has not yet decided on college or career plans, but knows she wants to do something related to business or music.

Garcia said she learned on Dec. 8 a lot goes into being mayor.

“There’s a lot that goes on for taking care of a town that I didn’t expect at all,” she said.

Garcia said she attended several meetings about current city projects and the city budget. She said city staff all had to be on board to get certain tasks completed.

“My day was exciting, but busy,” Garcia said. “When I first arrived, I was greeted by the mayor himself and the lovely staff.”

After about an hour of talking about how she got interested in the program and asking questions about the mayor’s position, Garcia took a tour of the municipal building and met various city staff and finding out what they do. Then came the meetings about city projects. Garcia said she even got to take a field trip to see some of the projects she heard about.

“I even got to meet one of the owners of a jewelry store and have their perspective on what the mayor (me) could improve on,” Garcia said.

Later in the day Garcia met one-on-one with Police Chief Jim Hansen to discuss a new program the department is instituting. She was asked for feedback on the program and how people in the community view police officers.

The end of the day included a meeting about how the day went at which time Garcia was presented a certificate by Schroeder recognizing her participation in the program.

Garcia called the day amazing and said she learned a lot.

“What I learned from this experience was handling a town isn’t all that easy,” Garcia said. “There’s so much detail and hard work from everyone that makes it possible for us to live in a safe and stable community.”

 
 

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