Students learn what it takes to run a city - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Students learn what it takes to run a city

April 26, 2006

Valdosta - Twenty years from now, Jacques Roe could be Valdosta's Fire Chief. "They get to help the community and help people at their houses if they have a bad fire," said Roe.

It's a heroic line of work this seventh grader has considered pursuing, and after spending a day at the Valdosta Fire Department, he knows a little bit more about his options. "We have the opportunity today, in all our city departments, to let our kids know what we do and what we're responsible for," said Lt. James Williams.

Twenty-five students from J.L. Newbern Middle School are learning the ins and outs of city government from those who know it best. "Each of our department heads have taken a group and they're going to go and learn about what it is they do in city government, both through their career and what services they provide to the community," said Amy Warren, Valdosta's Public Information Officer.

Whether its working behind a desk at city hall, monitoring traffic patterns, or fighting fires out in the community, the students are quickly learning that the job of a city employee isn't as easy as they thought. "You have to learn all the streets in Valdosta," said Roe.

"As a matter of fact, one of the teachers said she didn't even know what we did was that involved," said Williams.

There's still many years ahead before the students actually start their careers, but city leaders say this is their way of getting a jump start on recruiting new employees. No matter what their interests or skill levels are, they can find a fit somewhere in city government. "We have everything from a parks and recreation groundskeeper all the way up to the city manager," said Warren.

And who knows, somewhere down the road one of these students could end up running city hall.

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