Kids run Pelham for a day

Pelham Library Director Barbara Roberts helps show librarian-for-the-day Kathleen Kelly, a fifth-grader at VIS, how to check in books during Youth Government Day on April 23. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The next generation of Pelham leaders got a chance to learn about everything from hiring employees to running the city court during Youth Government Day on April 23.

During the day, about 275 Valley Intermediate School fifth-graders toured the city’s facilities and got a firsthand look at what makes their city tick. In preparation for the day, the students elected their peers to serve as each of Pelham’s department heads and elected officials.

After the kids spent the day learning about Pelham’s government and public services, the students elected to city positions ran a mock council meeting after the Pelham City Council’s regular meeting.

“This is my favorite day of the year,” said Pelham Mayor Don Murphy. “I enjoy working with the youth and hearing their thoughts and ideas.”

VIS student Kasey Clark served as mayor for the day, and said he enjoyed mirroring Murphy for the day. During the mock council meeting, Clark presented the city with a proclamation declaring April 23 Youth Government Day in Pelham.

Seth Thomas served as City Council president, and Madison Crews, Cassidi Cullen, Hannah Martin and Molly Miller served as council members. The council passed resolutions supporting a schoolwide newsletter, an anti-bullying campaign and the establishment of CPR and babysitting skills at VIS.

Erika Johnson served as city clerk and finance director, Lexi Jones served as human resource s director, Hope Love filled the role of city court administrator, Alex Wilkins kept Pelham’s finances in order as the director of revenue and Jaylen Cook reviewed plans to widen U.S. 31 and Interstate 65 as the city’s engineer.

Katie Strozier served as the building official, Abby Cook was the city’s director of public works, Anna Grace Hall served as police chief for the day, Carter Reid kept the city safe as the fire chief and Kathleen Kelly kept the books in order as the city librarian.

Cadence Crocker served as the director of parks and recreation, Sarah Guthrie directed Ballantrae Golf Club, Anna Kate Lolley oversaw economic development as the president of the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce and Mikal Law publicized Pelham as the city’s marketing director.