On Tuesday night, Marana Town Councilmembers learned about a range of issues across this community from a unique perspective. These speakers were neither developers, nor Town staff, nor consultants. They were students from Marana High School, and for the past eight months, they have each worked in departments within the Town, as well as at a few local nonprofits. Now at the end of their internships, these students were ready to report their findings to the Town Council.
The students presenting on Tuesday night have just concluded the first year of Marana 2.0. This program offers seniors at Marana High School the chance to learn about local government not by reading a textbook, but through practical, lived experiences. Departments from across the Town, from Police to Special Events to Technology Services, have mentored these students and in turn benefited from their unique contributions. With the school year drawing to a close, the Marana Town Council was eager to find out what the students learned and accomplished.
As Raymond Schnell advanced his Powerpoint, the Town Council saw a concrete example of what he had accomplished. As an intern with the Town’s tech services team, Raymond began his experience with an interest in app development. It was clear from his final project that this interest paid off. He had created from scratch a quiz app, designed to test how well his peers understood local government. Simply developing the quiz was not enough, though. He also pushed his project into a test market, analyzing the results of his classmates. Raymond explained that tools like this one can help Marana evaluate how well it’s communicating with residents, and how the Town can improve its outreach.
After the presentations, each Councilmember took a few moments to congratulate the students on all they had achieved. “What I got from listening to you,” extolled Councilmember Dave Bowen, “is how much ability you have, how ready you are to take on the challenges that you will face. It’s been great hearing from you.”
Councilmember Carol McGorray echoed Councilmember Bowen’s remarks. “I spoke to each of you before the meeting, and I’m so impressed because you’re all part of this same program, and yet you bring such a different viewpoint from your particular experiences to us here on the Council tonight, and I really appreciate that.”
The Town of Marana is pleased that the first year of this program was so successful. “We had nine students present tonight, and these kids worked hard all year to get to this point,” says Town Clerk Jocelyn Bronson, who spearheaded the program. “We’re looking forward to watching this program grow and get better every year.”
As this school year winds down, the Town of Marana is already brainstorming ways to improve the program for next year. During the presentations, one student suggested expanding this opportunity to juniors, instead of just seniors. While these plans are strictly preliminary at the moment, there is little doubt that this program will grow and flourish in the years to come. To keep up with that progress, be sure to check back with the Marana Newsroom.