Cedar Hill Mayor’s Teen Council Allows Positive Involvement For Youth

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group of teens standing

Nine Years of Making A Positive Difference

For almost a decade, teens in Cedar Hill have been meeting to make their town a better place to live.

The Cedar Hill Mayor’s Teen Council is in its ninth year of making a positive difference in the lives of both the teens on the council – and the residents that live there. The council is comprised of high school students within the community of Cedar Hill who wish to contribute their leadership skills and commitment to develop projects that help their community flourish.

Begun in October 2012, then-Mayor Rob Franke wished to improve the community through the youth. He envisioned forming a small group of talented adolescents to exert their efforts back into Cedar Hill. The result: the city council created the Mayor’s Teen Council.
The main goals were to involve the youth in service leadership and give them an understanding about local government.

Twenty high school students were chosen to be on the council from more than forty applicants in 2013. Mayor Franke passed the baton to Mayor Stephen Mason who was elected as mayor in May 2019. Prior to the election, Mayor Mason served as a city council member in Place 5 for nine years, three of those years as Mayor Pro Tem.

two girls and a boy at a table
Three Teen Council Alumni returned to speak with the new council members and tell them of their experience on the council. L-R: Moriah McCain, a graduate of Cedar Hill Collegiate in 2019 and Texas A&M in 2021; Jaida Casimir a Cedar Hill Collegiate graduate in 2020 and now attending the University of Texas in Austin where she is an RA (Resident Assistant) and Keaton May, the Trinity Christian 2020 Salutatorian and now attending Dallas Baptist University.

Staying Connected To Community By Volunteering

Victoria Romero was a member of the council last year and is renewing her efforts to make her city a great place to live by re-upping this year.

“I heard about the Teen Council through a flyer in the mail and doing some research for volunteer opportunities on the Cedar Hill Website,” she said, “I wanted to join the council because I enjoy volunteering my time to those who need it and I felt like it would enhance my connection with the Cedar Hill community.”

Born at the Baylor hospital in Grapevine, she has lived in Cedar Hill all her life and is currently a senior at Newman International Academy at Cedar Hill, where she is president of the school’s National Honor Society chapter, a volunteer for the Booster Club, and Head Manager for the Newman football team. And when she’s not doing all that, she’s the captain and starting pitcher for the Newman Softball team.

boy and girl with Cedar Hill Mayor
Siblings sworn in for the council stand with Mayor Stephen Mason include Victoria “Tiki” Romero, a senior at Newman International Academy and her younger brother, Ricardo Romero, a 10th grader at Newman International Academy at Cedar Hill.

A Future Of Volunteering

Victoria says there are many things that she likes about the Mayor’s council, but her favorite thing about it is “how involved we are with the community. Since the Mayor’s Teen Council was virtual last year, we didn’t have many opportunities to work on projects.” The city did host “Scare in the Park,” which was a drive-by trick or treating event. “I enjoyed helping pass out candy and seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces who got candy even though they were not able to actually participate in traditional “Trick or Treating” due to the pandemic.”

She looks forward to more in-person, hands-on volunteer service this year. Upon graduation, she hopes to attend either Baylor University – her top choice – or the University of Texas in San Antoni and plans to continue to volunteer on her future college campus and in her community.

Who Can Serve On Mayor’s Teen Council?

Members Of the Teen Council like Victoria are advised by both the mayor of the city of Cedar Hill and city employees, through discussions, tours, and interactive projects. The Council reviews issues and concerns that involve the youth in Cedar Hill and provides solutions for the betterment of their community. Potential council members are interviewed and can serve up to two consecutive terms until their high school graduation.

High school sophomores, juniors and seniors who live in the City of Cedar Hill and/or attend school in Cedar Hill are eligible to apply to serve on the Mayor’s Teen Council. The number of members is typically 25 – 30 teens (sophomores, juniors, and seniors).

The Cedar Hill Mayor provides executive oversight for the Mayor’s Teen Council and is supported by staff from the Administration, Library, Parks and Recreation, and Police departments. Meetings are on the first and third Monday of each month at the Cedar Hill Government Center.

 

There are nine clear objectives of the Mayor’s Teen Council:

  • Promote participation in comprehending local government
  • Plan and organize special events, projects and fundraisers
  • Learn from city staff to understand their role in serving citizens and setting policies
  • Address and discuss the agenda during monthly meetings
  • Heed the problems that involve adolescents and their livelihood
  •  Develop recommendations to the Mayor and Mayor’s Teen Council Advisors
  • Consider possible solutions from the youth of the Cedar Hill community
  • Tour various city facilities and meet with key city staff members/officials
  • Engage in city meetings and/or events

A Legacy Of Service On Teen Council

Samantha Gudenau is a continuing Teen Council member and served as historian last year. Her own history with the council is a long one.

She explains, “The Mayor’s Teen Council is one in which carries a legacy in my family. My older twin sisters were a part of a sister organization involved with the Mayor’s Teen Council called the Law Enforcement Advisory and Development (L.E.A.D.) Youth Council. My sister, Mikayla Gudenau was President, and my other sister, Katelyn Gudenau was Vice President and was involved in the organization and development of the very first Special Needs dance hosted in 2019, now an annual event held in the city.”

She says, “They worked alongside the Mayor’s Teen Council by implementing positive, relevant change in the city by listening to both the needs of youth and adults, building relations between civilians and the Mayor, and promoting servant leadership to the local youth by portraying a genuine attitude of service and gaining an understanding for political commitments.”

Passionate About Positive Change in Cedar Hill

Samantha feels, “This is something I also have a passion for and hope to continue the legacy of positive change within the great community of Cedar Hill.”

Like her siblings, Samantha says, “I wanted to become involved for many reasons. I am very passionate about helping my community. I’m an ambitious person who wishes to contribute my leadership skills and commitment to developing projects that help my community flourish. I have a passion for reviewing issues and concerns that involve the youth in Cedar Hill and want to provide solid and long-lasting solutions for the betterment of this community. Being on this council enables me to have a voice that can be heard and can be an inspiration to my peers within this extraordinary city.”

Overcoming Pandemic Related Challenges

Last year the Mayor’s Teen Council had the opportunity to accomplish a number of service projects within the community, but due to the pandemic restrictions and limitations in social events, there were a lot of concerns as to how the group could better our community virtually.

Samantha says, “Despite this, our group was able to produce creative activities and held monthly meetings over zoom as well as participated in the drive-through, social-distanced, “Scare in the Park,” event and helped at events during the Christmas season.” Samantha says now with restriction easing a bit in 2021, “This year our group hopes to accomplish many goals in which pertain to the development of leadership involving the youth in the community.”

How to Become a Member

For more information to become a member, email to Correne Constantino at [email protected] for an application.

Once accepted onto the council, Member Roles include:

President- Shall be responsible for the administration of affairs of the Mayor’s Teen Council with assistance from the mayor and council advisors, preside over all meetings of the Mayor’s Teen Council, appoint committees, when necessary, to research issues or solutions during meetings.

Vice President- Shall assume the duties of the President during the President’s absence, assist the president to perform his or her duties when required.

Secretary- Shall record and maintain the minutes of all Mayor’s Teen Council meetings, prepare and receive correspondence for the council and hold proper files, keep current members list and perform all duties related to the office of Secretary.

Treasurer- Shall have the responsibility and custody for the collection and disbursement of funds, prepare and present a financial report at a meeting when necessary.

Public Relations-Shall be accountable for information regarding sponsors along with food and beverages during meetings, Notify the Mayor’s Teen Council about collecting funds for fund

For questions, please contact Marie Watts at [email protected] or (972) 291-5100 ext. 1118.

2021 – 2022 Cedar Hill Mayor’s Teen Council

 

Name School
Juliet Amadi Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Zion Belloe Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Terry Brock Cedar Hill High School
Taylor Dillard Cedar Hill High School
Tylon Dillard Cedar Hill High School
Summer Dinwiddie Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Elijah Duncan Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Ethan Duncan Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Amanda Egede Lake Ridge High School
Kevin Evans Trinity Christian School
Tamyrah Forbin Cedar Hill High School
Samantha Gudenau Texas Academy of Mathematics & Science
A’Zyria Keys Cedar Hill High School
Jeremiah Hernandez Cedar Hill High School
Jimmy Hernandez Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Karla Hernandez Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Demi Omotoso Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Sekai Pierce Cedar Hill High School
Malysse Robinson Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Evelin Rodriguez Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Rafael Rodriguez Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Marc Rojas Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Ricardo Romero Jr. Newman International Academy
Victoria Romero Newman International Academy
Abigail Ruiz Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Roger Taylor, Jr. Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Beverly Ugbomoh Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Christian Williams Cedar Hill Collegiate High School
Ashley Zarco Cedar Hill Collegiate High School

 

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