(CHESTER, PA) – On Wednesday, April 13, 2016 several students from Chester High School were officially sworn in as junior council members during Chester’s regular City Council Meeting.

The junior council members who were voted into “office” on March 16, 2016, were amongst several student leaders who gathered in Chester High School’s auditorium, where detailed information regarding the newly-established Chester Youth Leadership Commission (CYLC) was released. Students were briefed on local government positions and asked to elect fellow peers to each respective position in City Council. The results of the election are as followed:

· Gyanni Wesley (12th grade) – Junior Mayor (Department of Public Affairs)
· Janizhay Baker (12th grade) – Junior Councilperson (Department of Finance)
· Faheem Glover (12th grade) – Junior Councilperson (Department of Parks & Recreation)
· Chantel Hatton (11th grade) – Junior Councilperson (Department of Streets & Public Improvements)
· Willie Mallory (12th grade) – Junior Councilperson (Department of Public Safety)
· Emmanuel Ozuna Rodriquez (12th grade) – Junior Controller

Acting as Deputy Mayor in the absence of Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, Councilman Nafis Nichols took the lead in expressing his support of City Hall’s progressive approach with helping Chester’s youth develop leadership skills. “I think it’s imperative for the City to provide programs and resources to young people that will help them foster qualities to take on leadership roles” said Nichols.

Each student was paired with their respective Councilperson and administered the oath of office by Deputy Mayor Nichols. Chester High School’s principal, Constance McAlister, who assisted in the ceremony, talked about how the CYLC would help to usher in a new era of opportunity for student leaders. “Most of these students are already involved in leadership roles at the high school. This gives them the chance to extend their leadership outside of the school and connect with the community,” said McAlister.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Williams echoed the principal’s sentiments, saying “I would like for our young people to become more politically savvy and learn how the government offices function so that they will be more prepared to serve the community in the future.”

Junior council terms will correspond with a normal calendar school year, beginning in September and culminating in June.

Chester Youth Leadership Commission: The Chester Youth Leadership Commission (CYLC) is an organization established in the Office of Councilwoman Elizabeth Williams. The Commission is committed to developing the next generation of community leaders, public servants and future professionals in the City of Chester. The CYLC is a collaborative body represented by youth leaders from various citywide youth organizations and schools. Members of the Commission will be provided with vehicles to learn about government, participate in the political and legislative process through policy development. They will also have the opportunity to shape public policy by voicing the needs and concerns of youth in Chester. The Commission provides projects, workshops, job shadowing, training, events, trips and hands-on experience in leadership, team building, advocacy and youth empowerment. These tools will help to empower the CYLC members as they make a unique impact on their communities.

For more information about the Chester Youth Leadership Commission, please contact Duane Lee at (610) 447-7725.

feature photo: Students from Chester High School and Chester council members take a picture in Council Chambers after the student leaders were officially sworn-in as junior council members. (left to right): Councilwoman Elizabeth Williams, Faheem Glover, Janizhay Baker, Councilman Nafis Nichols, Emmanuel Ozuna Rodriquez,  City Controller Edith Blackwell, Chantel Hatton,  Councilwoman Portia West, Willie Mallory and Councilman William “Al” Jacobs.