SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 12, 2014

Peabody students take over city government for a day

By John Castelluccio
Staff Writer

---- — PEABODY — More than 60 Peabody High seniors got a taste of public service Thursday during the city’s annual Student Government Day.

The program, which was first started more than 40 years ago, lets seniors serve as counterparts to city officials — and news reporters, too — for one day and even conduct mock School Committee and City Council sessions.

On Thursday, students and their counterparts gathered at City Hall to partner up and spread across the city for a morning of work. During the evening’s program, students proposed their own motions, some of which became actual projects.

Mayor Ted Bettencourt, who was the Parks and Recreation director for a day 22 years ago when he was a senior, reflected that his motion at the time wasn’t so lucky. He proposed creating a park at a rundown site on the corner of Walnut and Caller streets. What stands there today? A four-story apartment building.

Bettencourt also noted that his wife, who is a few years younger than he, was actually the first executive in the family. She was the student mayor during her Student Government Day. Bettencourt said she asks him every year if he remembered to tell that story.

You can reach John Castelluccio at 978-338-2527, jcastelluccio@salemnews.com or via Twitter at @SNjcastelluccio.