By Ed Martin, Editor
Lemoore High School's student leaders participated in the city's first Student Government Day on Friday, Nov. 4.
Lemoore High School's student leaders participated in the city's first Student Government Day on Friday, Nov. 4.

Approximately 20 students, all appointed or elected members of Lemoore High School’s Associated Student Body (ASB), got a first-hand look Friday morning at how city government works, courtesy of the City of Lemoore’s staff. They even got a pizza lunch at the end.

The students, led by their teacher Anne Strong, took part in the City of Lemoore’s first ever “Student Government Day, A Partnership between the City and the Lemoore High School District,” its purpose to provide students with an opportunity to learn more about the policy-making processes and operations of municipal government.

Lemoore High School student leaders get a first-hand look at how city government operates

In addition to meeting City Manager Andi Welsh and the city’s department heads, who run everything from public works to recreation, students also got to meet Mayor Lois Wynn and councilmembers Jeff Chedester and Ray Madrigal.

Welsh told The Leader that she approached Lemoore High Superintendent Debbie Muro earlier this year about a possible student government day - and the two re-connected when school started up in August. "The main goal of the event was to teach the students about the level of government that is the most impactful to their daily lives, provide information on potential career opportunities and deliver a general primer to city government," she said.

“I think it was an eye-opening experience for them,” said Strong, a former student at Lemoore High who also served in student government. “I don’t think they really understood how important city government is and what it does.”

The group of student leaders initially met with Welsh who gave the wide-eyed students an overview of the day’s activities as well as a short introduction to city government. Welsh introduced department heads, each of whom gave an overview of the work each department provides to the city.

Madrigal, one of the three councilmembers present, gave a big thumbs up to the student leadership day. “I appreciate Lemoore High School’s effort to engage students in the government process,” he said. “The event today will help these kids better understand what it takes to operate a city, and I really hope it will encourage them to become involved as leaders in the future.”

Lemoore High's ASB Speaker Holly Cassina said she learned a great deal from Friday's event. "Honestly, it was a pleasure for me to meet and interact with these folks who have dedicated their lives to making our lives safe and enjoyable," she said. She particularly enjoyed visiting the police department. "My dad is very involved in law enforcement," she said. "Getting to go to the police department was very interesting for me."

Students also took part in a “career panel,” giving the students a more comprehensive look at specific jobs within city government. Participants included Mayor Wynne, Juan Cuevas, a recreation coordinator; Jenarae Benavente, a city accountant; Nacho Carillo, who works in the solid waste department; Frank Rivera, a building superintendent; Cmdr. Steve Rossi, a member of the Lemoore Police Department; Albert Camacho, a utility operator, and Marissa Lourenco, a human resources office assistant.

Following the panel, the students were divided into groups and given tours of the police and fire departments and the city’s wastewater plant.