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.
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.
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
|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|