Students spend a day in Belpre government

Wayne Towner Special to the Times Belpre High School students participated in Student Government Day on Monday for the city of Belpre, shadowing elected officials, council members and department heads. The students were, front from left, Kaitlin Richards, Nicole Berg and Trinity Daugherty, and back from left, Elizabeth Cockerham, Katie Foster, Tristen Lockhart, Briah Kerns, Abbee Kapple, Malcolm Striblin and Gabby Blaschke.

BELPRE — A number of Belpre High School students spent Monday shadowing Belpre’s administration and elected officials as they worked.

The annual Belpre Student Government Day ended Monday evening with a meeting of Belpre City Council conducted by the students as their real-life counterparts watched and voted simultaneously on issues under council consideration.

The participating students included: Elizabeth Cockerham (mayor), Gabby Blaschke (council president),Tristen Lockhart (Council Ward 1), Malcolm Striblin (Council Ward 3), Trinity Daugherty (Council Ward 4), Kaitlin Richards (Council At-Large), Nicole Berg (Council At-Large), Briah Kerns (council clerk), Abbee Kapple (police chief) and Katie Foster (fire chief).

During a finance committee meeting held before the council meeting and during the council meeting itself, the students acted as members of council and the city administration. The students voted on measures and motions before them in concert with the council members they were shadowing.

During the council meeting, council members unanimously approved the first reading of the resolution creating a fund in the city’s budget for deposits of the EMS Levy funds. Two more readings will be held at future council meetings.

Ron Cross, the city’s safety-service director, said progress is being made on addressing a slip repair on Dragstrip Road. He hopes to see the project get underway by the end of January with an expected completion date of mid-March, weather permitting, he said.

City Auditor Leslie Pittinger said dog tags will be sold at the Belpre City Building on Friday, the only time they will be available outside the Washington County Courthouse in Marietta.

For the past four years, Student Government Day has been organized by Katie Pintz, history and government teacher at Belpre High School.

Councilman Joshua Campbell, who took office on Jan. 1 as the representative for the First Ward, is a 2010 BHS graduate who participated in Student Government Day in 2009 as a junior.

“It was a good reference point to understand how things happen and how the government works and how these meetings work,” he said of his student experience. “It wasn’t really a motivation for me to run, but once I decided to run and was elected, it was a good way to reference back to how the meetings ran before I actually took my seat the first time.”