Mayor&8217;s Youth Council sees changes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Selection for the Natchez Mayor&8217;s Youth Council will be different this year.

In the past, high school principals would nominate students for the council, Community Development Director Darlene Jones said.

Now, any student who wants to join the council can fill out an application and submit it to the principal&8217;s office by Friday.

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&8220;This year, I wanted to have kids who were interested,&8221; Jones said. &8220;That&8217;s the only criteria, that they be interested.&8221;

A youth council is organized every year to involve area youth in community service and educate them about government.

Last year, Hurricane Katrina meant there was no youth council, Mayor Phillip West said.

&8220;Hurricane Katrina engulfed so much of our energy and time, we didn&8217;t have the necessary capacity to follow through with the quality council we wanted,&8221; West said.

This year, the council will be made up of two students each from the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes at Adams County Christian School, Cathedral School and Trinity Episcopal Day School. Because of its size, three students will be selected from each class at Natchez High School.

Along with community service projects and discussion, students will learn about government, even shadow the mayor to learn about the job.

&8220;My big vision is to see them go to Washington, D.C.,

visit some of the halls and senators,&8221; Jones said. &8220;If we can&8217;t do that, my goal is to take them at least to the state capital.&8221;

Carita Winn, a senior at Natchez High School, was in the youth council two years ago.

&8220;It was an overall good experience,&8221; Winn said. &8220;You get to have a hands-on approach to things that are going on. You get to see what your peers think about things, not just what people at your school think or what your parents think.&8221;

Winn said she has already applied for this year&8217;s council.

&8220;I guess we&8217;ll see what happens,&8221; she said.

Hope Stephens, a senior at Trinity, said she is applying, too.

&8220;I would like to be part of the community and help the community as a whole,&8221; Stephens said. &8220;Any way I could help to speak out for the youth of the city.&8221;