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Two new faces joined the Whitecourt Town Council meeting on Monday, March 27. Grade six student Ashleigh Phaneu (St. Joseph School) and grade 11 student Darnell Jendrick (Hilltop High School) were selected to take part in the Mayor for a Day program which had them shadowing Mayor Chichak from morning to night.
“I liked learning about the recreational stuff and getting to know what’s going to be happening in the next 20 years,” said Ashleigh. She especially enjoyed learning more about her new school being built in the valley and the future plan of a hospital.
When asked how she ended up selected, Ashleigh explained that it all started with one of her teachers. “My homeroom teacher asked us to write about what we would do if we were mayor for a day, and she asked some people if they would like to submit it to Mayor Chichak and I said ‘yes’.”
Darnell, who is a member of the Youth Advisory Committee, said his favourite part was “sitting in on the Protective Services meeting because my brother has been interested in that for a long time and I know quite a bit about it.” His opportunity to take part came through the committee when students were encouraged to apply. “I like being in my community and helping out and volunteering,” said Darnell who has volunteered at events including Party in the Park and the Trade Fair.
“It was a great experience and I learned lots,” said Ashleigh to which Darnell agreed as their day wrapped to a close. As for Mayor Chichak, both kids sang her praises and noted that a lot of work goes into being the mayor of Whitecourt. “She’s awesome,” said Darnell, “she gets very involved in the community and I think she’s a really good mayor.”
“I absolutely love spending time with the youth as does the rest of our council,” said Mayor Chichak. “This is year two for the program (Mayor for a Day) so it’s very new and developing. It’s definitely something we hope to see continue into the future.” For anyone who is interested in politics, Chichak invites you to reach out. “I would love to sit down with anyone who would like to enter politics at any level whether it’s youth or adults, and talk about the benefits of being involved in your community.”