Harlem High School student Javier Nunez can add Harlem mayor to his resume.
On Monday, he and other Harlem High government students formed a mock city council Monday at City Hall to experience city government firsthand.
The meeting kicked off City Government Week in Harlem.
The council came prepared with a practical project that the mock council approved - landscaping all five Harlem signs at the city's entrances. The economics class prepared and presented a budget and the Harlem High chapter of the Future Farmers of America would perform the labor.
"It is wonderful trying to get students more interested in community service and how government works," said economics teacher Cynthia Hunt.
Harlem Mayor Scott Dean talks to Harlem High School students April Woodard (left) and Javier Nunez after a mock city council meeting.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
After the meeting, students asked questions of Mayor Scott Dean, Councilwoman Robin Root, and Councilmen Rudolph Dixon and John Thigpen.
Of course, the first question was, "How much do you make?"
The answer: a mere $300 a month per council member and $400 for the mayor.
"It is a labor of love, basically," Dean told the group. "Honestly, it is as much as you put into it."
The week also included Earth Day tree-plantings at Harlem elementary and middle schools Tuesday and several Relay for Life fund-raisers such as the Jail 'N' Bail, which "jailed" city officials and residents to collect $50 per person for the American Cancer Society.
Since the week is all about education, Dean and Root spent Wednesday afternoon teaching civics classes at the high school.
"We wanted to teach them who city government really works, what the budget is - where the money comes from and where it goes."
Cancer survivors lead the Relay for Life Survivors Walk last week during Harlem's campaign to benefit the American Cancer Society.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
Tour de Georgia
Harlem residents lined Louisville Street Wednesday morning to cheer on Tour de Georgia cyclists as they sped through town, The trip took about a minute at speeds up to 30 miles per hour.
Former school superintendent Don Thornhill, a former runner and triathlete, stood with his bike and wore cycling gear to watch the race. He normally rides two or three times a week for 15 to 40 miles, he said.
Afterwards, many returned to City Hall for free hemoglobin, blood sugar, blood pressure and bone density screenings. The Columbia County Health Department also administered pneumonia and tetanus shots and provided information about topics including osteoporosis, smoking cessation and children's medical services.
The week's highlight event was the community's involvement in the Harlem Relay for Life, which was moved inside Harlem High School because of the threat of rain. Despite the cramped area, Harlem beat their $30,000 goal with more than $50,600 for the American Cancer Society.
"This is a real community," said Debbie Garlington, a member of the Little Paws team.
Many of those same members of the community - exhausted from the day's activities - beat the county-employee softballteam 14-7 Saturday evening.
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