Delaware Hayes high school seniors got a close look at how local government works when they took on the roles of Delaware City Council members at City Hall on May 26.

Delaware Hayes high school seniors got a close look at how local government works when they took on the roles of Delaware City Council members at City Hall on May 26.

The students conducted a meeting using actual city ordinances and reports. They discussed council's proposal to ban motorists from using cell phones to text or use the internet while driving.

The students also considered resolutions to recognize both the Hayes musical participants and the Hayes In The Know team, and gave reports concerning the water treatment plant's condition and capacity, plus parks and recreation projects and improvements.

"The purpose of the mock meeting is actually a culmination of the mock city council program," said councilman and program liaison Andrew Brush.

"Our curriculum talks a lot about federal government, a little about state government, but barely covers local government, at all," said Kevin West, the teacher who organized the meeting. The students "learned at least what each person in City Hall does and learned the role of the council person."

The high schoolers, who acted in these roles, earlier took a survey and showed an interest in student government. In addition to shadowing city officials, they also worked with their adviser to prepare questions they would ask. In addition, they attended at least two council meetings, and rehearsed their meeting the night before. Some students said the program gave them a better view of the community's inner workings.

"Personally shadowing public works director Tim Browning, I learned a lot about the efficiencies of the public works department and what they do on a daily basis to provide us some of the systems that we take for granted," said student Jared Gray.

City officials also see the positives of such a program. "It is pretty rare that I get to hear what young people are thinking," said Brush. "It is a good opportunity to hear it. (It's) an educational endeavor for the city as well (as we) learn what things are important for young people and (how) to better engage them." Some students said the program might be a glimpse of their futures.

"Originally, it was a high school project, and then it turned into more of a self interest" said Nick Spalsbury, who played the role of mayor. "It really helped me get a feeling for how local governments are run, so maybe I might be in local government some time in the future."

At the end of the event, Spalsbury rated his performance as a 7 out of 10. He added, "Next time would definitely be better."