By Stacey Bomser
Enrollment is now open for Weston University. The one-of-a-kind program provides a unique civic education to high school students. It was the brainchild of City Manager John Flint and its curriculum was developed by Denise Barrett-Miller, Director of Communications for the City of Weston.
“The program is designed with multiple goals but ultimately the main objectives we want students to leave with are an understanding of local government and the complexities of providing public services. High school is the perfect age where learning that being involved in your community is essential to good government and quality of life. We ultimately expose students to a variety of career paths in both public and private service that they might not have otherwise experienced,” explains Barrett-Miller.
The Weston University program commences each October during Florida City Government Week. Over the course of the school year, students spend one day each month interacting with city leaders and participating in hands-on activities while exploring the various departments and agencies that make up our local government.
Program days are made up of instruction, conversations, observations and hands-on activities exposing students to the numerous City services and functions provided to Weston residents. The program culminates with a mock City Commission meeting in which students play the roles of city leaders and residents to carry out the agenda. The program may also include an out-of-town field trip. Last year’s class took a one-day trip to Washington DC.
The program is open to Weston students attending Cypress Bay High School, The Sagemont School, Western High School, as well as homeschooled students with transportation to City Hall. The class size is limited to 20-24 students and Barrett-Miller says preference is usually given to juniors and seniors, but sophomores can apply.
All interested students must submit an essay entitled “Why Communities Need Leaders.” Application information for the Weston University Class of 2018 can be obtained at each school. Cypress Bay students should contact Social Studies Department Chair Scott Selvidge, Sagemont students should contact Principal Gayle Iacono, and Western High School students should contact History Teacher Danny Tuchman. Each school has its own deadline and selections will be made by late September.
For more information on the Weston University program go to www.westonfl.org/Departments/Communications/YouthInGovernment.aspx.