CREST HAVEN – There have been many students from Cape May County high schools who have taken the part of freeholders for a day. The annual event, known as Student Government Day, affords teenagers a glimpse of what it takes to make the Garden State’s southernmost county tick.
The class of 15 young people who assumed seats of the board and joined staf professionals April 23 were exceptional, said Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton, a veteran of many such special days.
“This has really been an exciting day for us. What we loved the most was your enthusiasm, insight, and intelligence. Your questions were very interesting,” he added.
“I hope some day some of you run for elective office in you respective town, county, state and to Washington,” he continued. “It is important to make that commitment to your community, state and nation.”
He urged the teens to “go to Washington quickly, we need you down there. I am sure most of you could do a better job than what they are doing down there.”
“You know Cape May County has a bright future,” said Vice Director Leonard Desiderio.
“In my 11 years of student government days, we never had to who resembled me so much,” joked Desiderio, adding, “We were all the same height.”
Freeholder E. Marie Hayes also lauded the students’ teachers, who joined them in the special day.
Earlier in the day, the students toured the County Prosecutor’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Police Academy.
Lunch at the Technical High School’s American County Café included a time when Thornton explained various aspects of county government. Following that, the students visited various county offices and met representatives of departments, which had tables set up in the lobby of the administration building.
To accommodate the students, the afternoon caucus, which usually starts at 3 p.m. started at 3:30 followed at 4:30 p.m. by the regular freeholder meeting.
During the caucus and regular sessions, students sat in freeholders’ seats as they conducted the meeting and cast votes under the watchful eyes of their respective freeholder.
The following students participated:
Rachel Adams and Jonathan Spriggs, Cape Christian Academy.
Jawaun Blackman and Luis deJesus, Cape Educational Compact.
Susane Kim and Harnzah Almadani, Cape May County Technical High School.
Kyra Adams and Veronica Holmes, Lower Cape May Regional High School.
John Mallet, Middle Township High School.
Robert Nepa and Dylan Perry, Ocean City High School.
Thomas DePaul and Joseph Jett, Wildwood Catholic High School.
Courtney Davis and Majhadi Marrow, Wildwood High School.
“The students’ knowledge of the issues and their ability to convey their concerns was encouraging,” stated Freeholder Will Morey. “We hope that their involvement today is just the beginning of their participation in the governmental process.”