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High school students run the city for a day

April 04, 2002|BY SARAH MULLIN

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A group of Martinsburg High School seniors got the chance to see how all aspects of city government are run - first-hand - as part of youth government day on Wednesday.

They met with city leaders in the police and fire departments, and the parks and recreation department, as well as with the city manager and city planner.

At the end of the day, the students held a student government council meeting where they discussed issues concerning fire and ambulance service, a community center, the city's budget and property annexation.

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"It was a very good day. It was fun to meet the people who run things in the city," student councilman Colin Hitt said.

Hitt said he plans to study business administration and maybe someday participate in public service. He plans to attend Shepherd College this fall.

City Council member Gregg Wachtel began speaking about city council to the students who are in the leadership class at the high school in December and January.

He said the school and city have been conducting youth government day since about 1992.

The students in the two classes vote and elect the seven council members and the mayor.

The elected council was given a council packet with a copy of this fiscal year's budget a week ago so they could review it.

"We keep the procedures close to what the City Council does," Wachtel said.

Wachtel, City Manager Mark Baldwin and Mayor George Karos came up with issues that closely resembled those faced by the true City Council, Wachtel said.

The student council consisted of mayor Daniel Ansari, Sarah Lovell, Colin Hitt, Dylan Thomas, Rhiannon Elms, Clarissa Westmeyer, Dusty Ehrlich and Michael Lamp.

The other students acted as the city's citizenry and asked the council questions and voiced opinions regarding the discussed issues.

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