Government Day Gives Students Glimpse Into Running Stafford

By DAVID BIGGY | Jun 05, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy All Saints Regional Catholic School student Sophia Stack, acting as mayor, speaks during the mock township council meeting as Stafford Mayor Greg Myhre looks on during Student Government Day on May 31.

Stafford Township — For the past five months, Stafford Township Mayor Gregory Myhre has been getting acclimated to his new role, but on May 31 he came across something that made him slightly nervous – three dozen students at town hall.

“This was a different kind of audience than what I’ve gotten used to during the past five months,” said Myhre, who temporarily handed over his role as mayor to All Saints Regional Catholic School sixth-grader Sophia Stack as part of Student Government Day. “The kids were eager to learn, and it seems they learned a lot. I saw a few of them who might have the ability to be sitting up here in the mayor’s seat some day. Let’s just say I’m glad they’re under 18 right now and they’re not challenging me just yet.”

The fun atmosphere of Student Government Day was mixed with some more serious moments, as youngsters from All Saints and Stafford Intermediate School had the privilege of touring town hall, learning about various departments and meeting those who diligently work behind the scenes to make Stafford a well-functioning municipality.

Rocco Rossi, an Intermediate sixth-grader taking on the role of municipal public defender, was asked to defend a township police officer who had been caught talking on his cell phone while driving – a very serious offense, as some probably know.

“I came up with the backstory that his wife was about to get robbed and he had to call her,” Rossi said about his role-play character. “As I looked through the rules about using your phone while driving, I thought that would work in his defense because you’re allowed to use it if it’s needed for an emergency situation. He was found guilty, anyway.”

Calvert Turanyi, also an Intermediate student, had the pleasure of meeting new Township Administrator Matthew von der Hayden and finding out some of the things he’s learned in his role of the past two months.

“His job is very important, as he oversees all the different departments in town,” said Turanyi, who revealed his grandmother’s brother had been a town administrator in multiple locations. “I didn’t know anything about it, and learned a lot today. The administrator gets to do a little bit of everything.”

After lunch, ice cream and some fun time outside town hall, the students returned to the council room for the concluding council meeting, featuring Stack and council members Bryn Hagen, Grant Rupinski, Madison Groschel-Klein, Owen Hein, Makena Broderick and Kathleen Renaud, along with Turanyi, acting municipal clerk Yair Rojas Santillan, and acting township attorney Paul Zaun.

“I learned it’s a big responsibility to oversee what goes on in an entire town,” Stack said. “The council helps the mayor plan events and come up with laws for the town by sharing ideas. But the biggest I learned from the mayor is it takes a whole team to make the town run well. Even though you’re the leader, as mayor, you’re part of a team. It was interesting to tour the building and see how everybody works together to help the town work. It was fun being mayor for a day!”

Also part of Student Government Day were All Saints students Nicole Schirippa, Hannah Terizan, Adrianna Schirippa, Cassey Collins and Julia Schirippa;, as well as Stafford students Connor Walsh, Shane Holden, David VanOrden, Lucas Mullin, Nicholas Prosperi, Trevor Kerlin, Michael Kaczynski, Cody Byckiewicz, Meri Cassidy, Anthony Juliano, James Romano, Felicia Myers, Madeline Renaud, Luke Piszar, Brielle Simon, Mackenzie Mihalenko, Julianna Marco, Gabriel Horner, Litzy Lopez-Bonilla and Malachi Wilkins.

“We’ve got great people working in the town,” Myhre said. “I knew that. But when you’re living it every day, it really shines through. And today’s a great example of that.”

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