Glynn Academy students shadow officials to learn about government

Eight Glynn Academy students got to see how government works Thursday as they spent portions of the day with city and county officials.

They started Golden Isles Government Immersion Day with Brunswick staff members and then switched at noon to Glynn County.

Lily Roberts, who conceived of the project, spend part of the morning with City Manager Regina McDuffie and Assistant City Manager Jeremiah Bergquist and the afternoon with Katie Baasen, director of communications for Glynn County.

Sophia Bravo opted for public works with the city and then chose the county Board of Elections for her afternoon session.

Caleb Chatham-Hickox, an election technician, led her through the process starting with programming the equipment through the voting process and casting a ballot.

“I think it’s pretty interesting seeing how voting works electronically,’’ she said.

She also liked the program in general because it give students a chance to see how local government works. Sophia said she was impressed with what goes into making decisions in city government.

On the elections side, Chatham-Hickox had a lot to tell her because he not only makes sure the system is up and running, he also tests the equipment and troubleshoots problems.

The students also spoke with emergency response officials, police officers and with some top supervisors.

The discussion with county officials turned into a working lunch in the Harold Pate Building where they dined on food provided by Grandy’s after Palm Coast Coffee provided their morning fare.

Lily, a sophomore, was pleased with the outcome.

“We were happy with our amount this year,’’ she said of student participation. “It was perfect for starting off, but we definitely see growth in the future.”

Her inspiration for the program goes back to St. Simons Elementary where her Ocean Lab instructor, Brooke Vallaster, told of a program she had experienced in her hometown. When she got to high school, Lily began working on establishing a version there.

She already visits businesses with Glynn Leadership, but she said she wanted more of a one-on-one experience with local government leaders.

Lily said she was excited at seeing 21 city and county government officials in one room early in the day.

She attended two meetings with McDuffie and was impressed with how she controlled the sessions while getting everyone’s opinion.