Chincoteague High Seniors Lead Town Council Monday in Longstanding Tradition

Chincoteague High School seniors and Chincoteague Town Council members pose during a student-led town council meeting Monday, May 24, in the Chincoteague Town Hall. Chincoteague High School photo.

By Carol Vaughn —

Chincoteague High School seniors in a longstanding town tradition held a student-led Town Council meeting Monday, May 24, at the Town Council chambers.
“Every year…we have student government come in, the seniors from our high school come in, and we turn the town over to them,” said Mayor J. Arthur Leonard.
The students worked throughout the day on subjects they were given to study.
The adult town council approved a motion to give up their seats for the evening to the student government.
Students took on the roles of mayor, council members, town manager, police chief, public works director, and emergency management director during the meeting.
Among topics discussed were the lengthy backups that occur on Maddox Boulevard during summer; the recently established no-wake zone for boats in the Memorial Park area; the pros and cons of allowing ride-share electric scooters in town; reducing speed limits in the downtown area; and street conditions in the Ocean Breeze neighborhood.
“I’m extremely encouraged knowing that you all went out today and are also seeing the things that we discuss pretty much every month — the EMS situation, the roads in Ocean Breeze, the downtown speed limits, things like that,” said Councilwoman Denise Bowden.
“It makes me feel good knowing that you all as the younger group, the next generation, are noticing those things, too,” she said.
Student government day on Chincoteague has been a tradition since around the late 1970s or early 1980s, when a history teacher at Chincoteague High School started the tradition, according to Bowden.
“I think it’s great for the young generation to get to see how the town works, even if it’s just for a day,” she said.
“I’m very, very impressed with how you all have handled yourselves with the public and the questions that you have asked and the responses that you have,” said Councilwoman Ellen Richardson.
“It’s heartwarming. I appreciate you stepping up and seeing what the town does,” said Mayor J. Arthur Leonard.

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