This month I had the pleasure of participating in numerous events with Brisbane’s Preschool, Elementary School, and Middle School students. City staff and I hosted Kindergarteners and Third Graders from BES, giving them an overview of our different departments and their functions. A presentation on our water pipe system and fire hydrants was of particular interest to the Kindergartners. In addition, they aced our “which container does this trash go in” quiz. I’ve learned if you’re ever unclear which container to deposit a piece of trash in, just ask a 6- year-old and they’ll help you out, it was pretty incredible.
We also hosted this year’s “Mayor for a day,” Hayden, a 4- year-old Silverspot student. Each year the city provides the experience as an auction item for Silverspot’s annual fundraiser. The child who wins the “Mayor for a day” experience can invite a group of friends to join them for their “day in office.” Our Fire Department and Police Department graciously let the children sit in their vehicles and provided hats, erasers, stickers, and t-shirts for them to take home. We even tested the sirens to make sure they were working right. At first the children were hesitant to climb into the police car until I reminded them it may be their only chance to ride in the back seat, and they hopped right in. Afterwards, we headed to Chief Lisa Macias’ office and were gifted lollipops and then visited Park and Rec and colored a “Welcome to Summer” sign for the signboard. We finished the day with a pizza party, guessing game, and lots of photos. Hayden wore his mayor top hat and proclaimed May 19th-25th as “no yelling” week but then changed his mind, making May 23rd “Ice Cream Day.” Thursday is his favorite day of the week. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got my ice cream plans already set for the 23rd.
In May, we also collaborated with Lipman Middle School for the Chamber’s annual Students in Business and Government Day. I will never forget participating in Students in Business and Government as an 8th- grader. I was assigned City Hall and remember meeting with Stuart, Clay, and Randy to learn about the city. Now, as the Mayor of Brisbane, hosting this year’s 8th- graders has been quite the full circle moment. Visiting City Hall then, along with a host of other childhood experiences, inspired the choices I made in my adult life that lead me to the position I hold today. While we may not always realize it, exposure of different industries to our 8th graders can be an incredibly impactful experience. This year, our students asked some particularly hard-hitting questions and we could tell they had done their research beforehand. They asked about the status of a teen-center, what role the city plays in the Baylands development and the projected timeline. We brought examples of potential “safe routes to school” markers and they gave input on which style appealed to them and why.
Last but not least, I participated in Lipman’s annual Career Day on May 8th. Small groups of students rotate to different sessions and listen to presentations about a variety of careers in an effort to expose them to fields they may be interested in. I presented on my experience as a city council member and Mayor. I explained my educational and career journey upon my graduation from Lipman and how key events shaped the path I took in life thus far. We reviewed what role the council and mayor play in city decision-making and the differences in these roles. We also discussed what sorts of items the council reviews i.e.: city finances, creating ordinances, issuing proclamations, analyzing zoning changes, etc. The students wanted to know what aspects of my role bring me the most joy and how I make a difference in the community through this position.
Having the chance to educate our young citizens and inspire them to become more civically engaged has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my year so far and I’m so thankful the school district, our city, and our chamber have established a relationship that fosters these opportunities.
Finally, here’s this month’s Brisbane Fun Fact: From 1908-1930 Brisbane was referred to as the “City of Visitacion”
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