High schoolers run the show
Youth takes over the Town Council meeting
by Joseph Passantino
Reporter staff writer
Jun 09, 2013 | 5255 views | 0 0 comments | 236 236 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RUNNING GOVERNMENT – Secaucus High students Jennifer Jernstedt (left) and Alexis Anderson (right) join Councilwoman Susan Pirro on the dais.
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The Town Council doubled in size and looked younger overall a week ago Tuesday, when Student Government Day was held in Secaucus.

For the council’s regular evening meeting, Secaucus High School students were assigned one-on-one to a township official, and assisted them in executing their regular governmental duties.

The students, and the public officials they were paired with, were: Tim Charles, Mayor Michael Gonnelli; Alexis Anderson, Councilwoman Susan Pirro; Matt Grillo, Councilman James Clancy; Aarushi Kumar, Councilman William McKeever; Bethany Mancuso, Councilman Robert Costantino; Shaun Sengupta, Councilman Gary Jeffas; Summer Kocerha, Town Attorney Anthony D’Elia; and Samia Sheik, Town Clerk Michael Marra.

Deputy Mayor John Bueckner was absent from the meeting.

The business of government

Anderson, 15, had shadowed Town Administrator David Drumeler during the day, and said it was a great experience watching him go about his daily business.

“It was really cool. He takes care of everything,” said Anderson, a Secaucus High student government representative. “Practically everything gets handed to him.”

“I’m very proud of her,” said Julie Anderson, Alexis’ mother, before the council meeting.

Other students involved during the day were: Kocerha, Tax Collector Lorraine Carr; Kevin Smith, Department of Public Works Superintendent Kevin O’Connor; Saahil Kapoor, Police Chief Dennis Corcoran; CJ Roberts, Director of Recreation John Voli; and Jennifer Jernstedt, Director of Senior & Social Services Lisa Snedeker.
“Thank you for participating in running the local government of Secaucus.” – Councilman James Clancy
Jernstedt, 16, followed around Snedeker as she organized town events and wrote community calendars.

“She helps the needy in town,” Jernstedt said. “She helps people with food stamps and other necessities, especially the seniors.

“It was a fun, relaxing day,” she added, “and educational too.”

Clancy and Gonnelli commended the students for their interest in civics.

“Thank you for participating in running the local government of Secaucus,” Clancy said. “You did a fine job.”

At the meeting, Secaucus High School senior Ryan Nunez was presented with a proclamation for being the recipient of the Comcast Foundation Annual Leaders and Achievers Scholarship. As recipient, he received a $1,000 award.

Nunez hopes to pursue a career in medicine. He will be entering a pre-medical honors program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in the fall.

Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.

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