Community | Students from local high schools participated in the Rotary Club of Belleville's Mayors of the Week program. The week-long experience with the Mayor's office was a great opportunity to learn about and observe municipal government in action. They toured City Hall, Police Services, Fire and Emergency Services, the Engineering Department, the Water Treatment Plant, the Sewage Treatment Plant, the City Administrator's Office, the Economic Development Office and the City Works Yard. Participating this year are: Aurora Zech from Nicholson Catholic College, Karthi Goms from Centennial Secondary School, Dante Duffus from Albert College and Leo Kim from Eastside Secondary School.
Three (3) of the "Mayors" were introduced to the Rotary Club at their lunch meeting on November 25th by Rotarian Jennifer Savini who is the Chair of the program.  The Mayors of the Week program has been in place since 1969 and the participating schools select the students who show civic leadership and an interest in helping their communities.  The students meet at various City locations each afternoon for a week, accompanied by Rotarians.  They are given tours of City facilities, meet with senior staff and the Mayor and attend a City Council meeting.  Jennifer saw first hand the Mayor and other staff generously providing their time and noted the students experiencing a number of aspects of how a municipality operates.  One of the Mayors, Aurora Zech, a Grade 11 student from Nicolson, was unable to attend today, but she expressed a great interest in government and administration.  Thank you to John Smale for heading up this program for many years and passing the baton to Jennifer along with his notes and a number of recommendations and hints.  Jennifer also thanked the Rotarians who accompanied the students around the community -- Tracy Bray, Darrell Smith, Karen Baker and Shannon Neely.
Dante Duffus attends Albert College and was honoured to be part of the program and speak with the Rotary Club today.  He is currently enrolled in Canadian and International Politics and was pleased to be able to experience that side of Belleville's operations.  He especially enjoyed seeing the library, the police station and the bus depot and to learn about different community initiatives.  He noted the old archives at the library as well as the artist exhibits.  Dante saw some chemistry at work at the police station in the Forensic Identification area and the precautions they take every day and how the police officers handle themselves.  The CSI of Belleville in action!  The green initiatives associated with the transportation sector of the City caught his interest and Dante realized the importance of efficiency in transportation.
Karthi Goms is in Grade 12 at Centennial Secondary School and was pleased to participate in the program and meet her peers from different schools.  She saw some career opportunities she was not aware of.  The water treatment plant was very organized even though some of the equipment was old, there were many technical advances in the pre-treatment and filtration systems.  Karthi was pleased to hear Chief Callaghan's commitment to have 30% female police officers by the end of 2030.  She was inspired by this diversity and plan and gaining knowledge for the future.
Leo Kim is a grade 12 student at Eastside Secondary and plans on pursuing business at universiaty.  The opportunity to see how the City operates as a business was very interesting to Leo.  Conserving energy by reducing heat at the Wellness Center and the "on demand" bus program showed him examples of reducing costs overall.  He jokingly said knowing a little more about the bus pick-up spots and destinations would have helped him a lot.  Leo recalled visiting a police station many years ago and realized today is much more science applied, made him feel older.
The students thanked Rotary for organizing and keeping this program active even with the challenges of COVID.  Past President Shannon Neely thanked the students for their observations and sharing with everyone.