Press Releases

Elizabeth Celebrates 62nd Annual Youth in Government Day

Mayor for the Day, Greg Markowitz pictured with Mayor Bollwage in Council Chambers. Credits: City of Elizabeth
Mayor of the Year Award recipient Stephania Gonzalez-Mena, pictured with Mayor Bollwage, Council Members Frank Cuesta, Nelson Gonzalez and Freeholder Sergio Granados. Credits: City of Elizabeth
Youth take charge of Council meeting. Credits: City of Elizabeth

ELIZABETH, NJ—Earlier today, May 24, Elizabeth students were given the opportunity to observe municipal business as part of the 62 nd Annual Youth in Government Day. This year’s event was chaired by Councilman-At-Large Frank J. Cuesta.

“This unique opportunity provides students with the opportunity to learn about daily operations, participate in the legislative process as well as exchange ideas with City officials,” said Mayor Bollwage. “Some of Elizabeth’s most talented students joined us at City Hall and hopefully this experience will inspire them to become active and concerned participants in government.”

Sponsored by Elizabeth’s City Council, students from the municipality’s public and parochial high schools assumed the positions of local officials during a morning conference in City Hall. This year’s Youth in Government Day included 40 young people from Elizabeth’s public and parochial high schools.

Sign Up for E-News

Upon arrival, students gathered in Council Chambers and were assigned to officials. Following introductions, the young people spent a portion of the morning learning job responsibilities from their advisors. The students took an external tour of the city for a first-hand view of the economic development and new initiatives that are occurring.

 At noon, they gathered for a luncheon at Dolce Restaurant on South Broad Street in Elizabeth.

As a part of the day’s events, Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, presented the annual Mayor’s Youth of the Year Award to Stephania Gonzalez Mena, an Elizabeth High School Upper Academy senior. Since its inception 51 years ago, the Youth of the Year Award has recognized students for school leadership and community service. Stephania was chosen to receive this award for demonstrating responsible leadership in school organizations and community service.

In a recommendation letter written by her Guidance Counselor, Jecenia Solorzano, she mentions that Gonzalez-Mena is a “meticulous, buoyant and steadfast young scholar who pays close attention to detail, always maintains an optimistic perspective and possesses an unremitting commitment to her academic studies.”

Currently, she ranks number one in her graduating class and aspires to become an attorney with her ultimate goal of one day working for Congress and evoking change. A committee of representative members of the community are assigned the task of selecting one student from the list of names placed in nomination by the principals of the public, private and parochial high schools in Elizabeth. This year’s members included: Jennifer Cedeno, Ed.D, Interim Assistant Superintendent; Mrs. Yvonne Smith, Director of Smith Funeral Home; Donald Johnson, City of Elizabeth Office of Youth Services, Paul Rinaldi, UNICO President; George Castro, Century 21 Realty Agency and Reverend Joseph Adair, executive director of Human Rights Commission.

 “This day gives students a sense of responsibility, passion for community issues as well as a forum to hone leadership and communication skills,” said Councilman-At-Large Frank Cuesta. “Participation in the local government process enables young people to experience the positive impact and difference that can be made through public service.”

The activity-filled Youth in Government Day concluded with an afternoon City Council meeting, where the students served as representatives for their assigned City Officials. Each year the Weekly City Council meeting is changed from its usual 7:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. meeting time in order to accommodate the student officials. At the end of the day, the students were presented with certificates of merit for their professionalism and performance throughout the event.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Lifelong Elizabeth and Elizabeth Police to Hold  “Walking Safety ” Event

April 18, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ - The Lifelong Elizabeth Program, under Jewish Family Service of Central NJ, will be holding another “Walking Safety Presentation” for Elizabeth residents on Thursday, April 26, from 11 a.m. to Noon, at the Elizabeth Public Library at 11 South Broad Street.

Elizabeth Police Department Sergeant Brian Clancy will provide participants with tips on walking safely and the ...

Westfield Firefighters Extinguish Small Blaze at Rock 'n' Joe's

April 15, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ - A small electrical fire started around noon at Rock 'n' Joe's on Prospect Street on Saturday.

According to Deputy Chief Anthony Tiller, the fire was caused by an electrical shortage in wires in the ceiling, sending smoke into the neighboring businesses on both sides.

“It created a smoke condition," Tiller said. "Once we located the fire, we ...

Regional Travel Update - Gov. Murphy Announces Proposed NJTransit funding increase

April 25, 2018

Newark, NJ – Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday spread a message of hope regarding future improvements to NJTransit services and infrastructure due to a proposed $242 million increase in funding for NJTransit for the 2019 fiscal year. 

At a press conference held at NJTransit’s Central Maintenance Facility on Doremus Avenue in Newark, Murphy, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, and other ...

Politics IS Government in Union County

April 22, 2018

After Bruce Paterson of Garwood was stopped from speaking at the Union County freeholder meeting of March 22 regarding the politics behind refusing to give the party line to a sitting freeholder I thought this brazen suppression of free speech could not go unanswered. The April 19 meeting I answered with these comments.

After ten years of following government in Union County I conclude that ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Dr. Ombrello Honored by the Daughters of the American Revolution, Cranford Chapter

April 25, 2018

CRANFORD - Senior Professor of Biology Dr. Thomas Ombrello was recently acknowledged by the Daughters of the American Revolution, Crane’s Ford Chapter of Cranford, with the National DAR Conservation Medal Award for his work on the Historic Tree Grove at the College’s Cranford campus. Dr. Ombrello received the award on Apr. 14 at a ceremony held in the Cranford Community ...