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2020-2021 LaGrange Youth Council inducted

The 2020-2021 LaGrange Youth Council was inducted at the city’s mayor and council meeting Tuesday night. The youth council is an advisory board of local high schoolers that provides advice and counsel to the city council. 

In doing so, it provides youth with experience and a formal role in local government.

2019-2020 LaGrange Youth Council Chair Emma Strickland spoke to the city council about her experience working with the city, before introducing this year’s 24-member youth council. Strickland delayed starting college at George Washington University due to the pandemic, choosing to instead intern with the city and help review the youth council’s curriculum. 

Her role as an intern, Strickland said, included helping to create the schedule, preparing materials, conducting interviews, creating graphics and advising youth council members.

“I am thankful to serve as an advisor to this year’s youth council, since my own years of service really changed my life,” Strickland said. “Without youth council, I wouldn’t have as many opportunities, such as this internship.”

Last year, the youth council’s causes were an anti-vaping campaign, a mental health campaign, “Life 101” classes, a community garden and a pet parade. 

The 2020-2021 youth council members are: Kate Asbell, Hamilton Bedingfield, Katy Beth Bedingfield, Milly Criswell, Miller DeVane, Louise Dodson, Sydney Edelson, Addie Eiland, Ella Eiland, Lauren Hale, Tripp Hollstrom, Eileen Hwang, Jamal Jones, Kannon Key, Elijah Langston, MacKenzie Mitchell, Zoie Mitchell, Mollie Olinger, Ka’Various Perry, Khamani Philpotts, William Pitts, Caroline Shelton, Mary Frances Smith and Riley Whitlow.

Some members of the 2019-2020 youth council stayed on for a second year, while 15 others completed their service. Those that are leaving are: Jack DeVane, Libby Criswell, Kaushal Patel, Miller Penn, Gabe Martinez, Ujwal Modi, Abby Mazzolini, Annie Pauley, Caroline Cook, Emma Strickland, Lily Kamat, Nasia Shepherd, Isias Pavon, Lizzie Doerr and Caroline Childress.

New members received LaGrange-themed pins from Mayor Jim Thornton and City Manager Meg Kelsey, before being sworn in as youth council members. City Attorney Jeff Todd recited the oath of office, to which the new members, with hands raised, responded “I do.”

At the meeting’s close, Council Member Willie Edmondson thanked city staff and communications manager Katie Van Schoor, who oversees the youth council, for “a job well done.” 

“I’m so happy to see that and I applaud the youth for wanting to serve and learn more about city government,” Edmondson said. “Especially because those of us on council now, we would love to see some of you all, our city leaders, doing what we’re doing right now. … I see out there city council people, I see a mayor, I see senators, even possibly a president.”