BROKEN ARROW, Okla. -- High school students are running their own Broken Arrow council meeting.
The Youth City Council is stepping in Tuesday afternoon. Zoe Brooks, a senior at Broken Arrow High School is a part of the two-year program for juniors and seniors, campaigned, and was elected mayor last year.
She said, “Over the course of our term in office, we are given presentations about different sectors of the city government and different people will come in and talk to us about what their job is and how it helps the government run.”
In the youth council, all functions of a real council exist, like the city attorney and city planner. They get a firsthand look at how the puzzle gets put together.
Brooks said, “To be able to see each individual piece doing its job and being able to realize that this functions with this and this functions with this and that makes this function, it’s crazy to know that all of this is happening. Unless you’re on the inside, you don’t really see all of that. You just see a general facade of what the city is.”
City Councilman-at-Large Johnnie Parks said, “I always tell them I’m helping to train them to run against me someday.”
Parks has been grooming the young leaders for years. He said, “To me, this gives them not just what’s in a textbook, but this gives them a hands-on experience to the way our government works.”
The student leaders got just that Tuesday during a mock council meeting. They followed an agenda, heard concerns from residents and even dealt with protesters. It gives them a platform to discuss issues they face in the community and present those issues to the actual city council.
Brooks said, “To be able to put on a resume ‘Youth Mayor of Broken Arrow” is insane. It really is. It’s just an incredible opportunity that I’m so happy I got involved in.”