Kids take on town’s top seat for a day

Students from St. Augustine Catholic School had their chance in the mayor’s seat last week as part of their social studies curriculum.

Mayor Rick Bonnett poses with Grade 6 students from St. Augustine Catholic School Wednesday

Mayor Rick Bonnett poses with Grade 6 students from St. Augustine Catholic School Wednesday

Students from St. Augustine Catholic School had their chance in the mayor’s seat last week as part of their social studies curriculum.

Mayor Rick Bonnett gave three students in Grade 6 a chance to be the mayor for a day and learn about the ins and outs of his and town administration’s jobs Wednesday, June 3. He said students from three Grade 6 classes submitted essays to Town Hall and the top three in each class were picked.

Alex Brackenbury, Mary Mathieu and Kyrie Hemingson were able to tour the town offices, sit in council chambers and speak with administration and Bonnett. Each one came away with a better understanding of the inner workings of the town’s operations.

One insight for Brackenbury was seeing what it takes to run the town. “It’s not just the mayor. It’s everyone behind the scenes,” he commented.

He suggested a sports and clothing store might be an ideal way to keep shoppers in town but keeping everyone happy is also a challenging job.

“Sometimes it’s hard to find the majority in there,” said Brackenbury.

Seeing operations from the mayor’s perspective was an eye-opening experience, he added.

Mathieu wrote an essay about economics and driving change in the Town of Ponoka. The age of eligibility was an interesting point for her. “Once allowed to vote you’re allowed to run as mayor,” she opined.

She feels it is difficult to keep everyone happy in a job with tough decisions. Mathieu added that while staff must listen to residents’ ideas, they also need to consider their own.

Taking action on tough choices is something Hemingson feels is the biggest challenge for staff. “Probably decision making, because you probably have a decision to benefit everyone,” she said.

She enjoyed being able to make suggestions for improving the downtown core.

“There were some very good ideas passed out,” said Bonnett of the day.

He wants to give Ponoka students a better understanding of council and administration’s roles and challenges and he hopes to get all the Ponoka schools involved in the Mayor for a Day program.

“What we are as a council is we are visionaries,” said Bonnett.