Mock council session evokes serious thought

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

The possibility of no fireworks this year saddened some of the Portales High School and junior high students, but they were able to pass a recommendation during a mock city meeting to allow for a city fireworks display show.

The Portales students held a mock city meeting Tuesday afternoon as part of student government day. The students, mostly student council representatives, approved mock recommendations and resolutions affecting the high school, junior high and city residents.

“I was really nervous,” Rosa Helena Garcia, student council member, said. Garcia, who is a Portales High School junior, acted as a city councilor for the city meeting. Garcia asked students, who pretended to be city staff members, about their resolutions and recommendations. “You get to decide on things that affect your community.”

The students who acted as city councilors, approved an amendment to a proposed resolution restricting the use and sale of fireworks to allow for a city fireworks display on July 4th and promote fireworks safety to the public.

“It was kind of scary because the mayor (Orlando Ortega) was sitting right there looking at me,” Ana Quinones, a PHS student who acted as the mayor, said. “He worked with me on how to conduct a meeting. As mayor you tell everybody else what will be going on and follow the formal rules.”

Ortega listened in and helped Quinones whenever she had questions.

Debi Lee, city manager, Joan Martinez-Terry, city clerk, Lonnie Berry, police captain and Raul Muniz, fire chief were some of the staff from city offices who helped the students conduct the city meeting.

“I commend you,” Lee told the students who participated. “You guys did a fabulous job. You’re great leaders. You have a lot to offer.”

The students introduced different resolutions and recommendations. Student Timothy Brooks served in the role of general services director and proposed changes to the school menus while Kaitlyn Johnson proposed each school in the district have its own Web site. Currently James Elementary and the Portales High School have Web sites.
Garcia said she was more at ease discussing school issues than city issues.

“You (students) know more about the Web site and cafeteria food,” Garcia said. “It was a good experience. It made it easier for passing rules for school because of today’s experience.”

Garcia will be the PHSstudent body president for the 2006-07 school year.

The students also dealt with real city issues like the proposed fireworks ban and the renewal of a livestock permit. Daniel Perez, Ethan Ortega and Lane Stevens were the other students who acted as city councilors, while Autumn Wilkerson acted as city manager and Jessica Adkins acted as city clerk.

“I was very impressed of what I saw today,” Amanda Burnett, Portales Junior High student council sponsor, said. “I’m so proud of all of you.”