UNION, NJ - Union High School students again participated in Union’s annual Student Government Day this week by assuming the roles of elected officials, administrators and department heads.
Throughout the morning, students accompanied the mayor, committee members, the police director, fire deputy, the clerk’s office, and department heads responsible for the Senior Center, DPW, and the Recreation department, functioning in their role within local government, culminating in the Township Committee conference and Committee meeting.
“Student Government Day allows students to get hands-on experience in government," said Union High School social studies teacher Chris Faraone. “Most of the time we spend in class is discussing various government styles. This actually allows the students to get involved and become aware of their community, which I think is an excellent opportunity for them.”
Faraone said many students request to be paired with the township attorney as many of them want to become lawyers. He said students also enjoy working with TV34 for media relations and with the business administrator because students are interested in finance.
“At the end of the day, the most interesting part for me as a teacher is to see students come back who had been assigned roles that they didn’t think would be interesting but become very fascinated with them,” said Faraone. “It opens their eyes to the possibilities for them in government.”
Faraone said when the program began five years ago there were 10 students involved. He said this year there are 35 students participating. “This helps the community and the students of the community become more aware of what the opportunities are for them as they move forward.”
“It’s so important to know how your government runs and to be active,” said Deputy Mayor Joseph Florio.
“I learned how complicated the government is,” said student and Deputy-Mayor-for-the-day Destiny Tullis. “It’s a lot of different departments working together and figuring out how to make the town run. It’s really interesting to see how that works.”
“It was a joy to have these young people go to the Department of Public Works with me,” said Committeeman and DPW Commissioner Clifton People, Jr. “They have gained a wealth of knowledge in terms of what DPW provides for this township. I hope they take this experience into the rest of their lives.”
Mayor-for-the day Kassandra Antao said, “It was cool to see all of the females here, owning it and doing their job really well. It was great.”