A Look Back at Student Government Day

by Christy Nealey, Marketing and Technology Specialist, Department of Human Resources

This year 100 high school students had the opportunity to see first-hand what we do here at the County. As part of the 65th Student Government Day, students from ten area high schools and the Academy at Virginia Randolph worked alongside county officials, took tours, and participated in a mock Board of Supervisors and saw how their local government and public school system serve the community.

Student Government Day would not be such a success without the participation of so many departments and employees! Here is what they had to say about it:

“Observing students arrive on Student Government Day, fully engaged in their roles and responsibilities, is such a joy to watch! Each year, this day serves to provide our Henrico County students with a glimpse into their potential futures, guiding them toward diverse paths that also allow active participation in shaping their own community. Students also can create meaningful connections and weigh in by voicing their opinions. This allows us as Henrico County employees to listen attentively and anticipate the needs, concerns, and priorities valued by the next generation who will soon be joining us in the workplace.” -Kendall Johnson, Department of Human Resources

“Planning Department staff Todd Rigler and Rosemary Deemer were paired with Jonathan Logan, a senior from Hermitage High School who is also enrolled at the ACE Center at Highland Springs High School. The department is currently in the process of updating the county’s long-range comprehensive (land use) plan and has been looking for ways to increase awareness about our efforts. Because of his interest in technology, we asked that he create a way to engage students so we could obtain more input on our project. Using Google Forms, he created a survey that was provided to two senior level government classes. The students were asked to review a summary of the county and share their thoughts on how and where the county should grow in the future. Thanks to Jonathan efforts, Planning heard from approximately 30 students who otherwise may not have known about or participated in our process.” -Joe Emerson, Planning Department

“My student was the most self-directed student I have met.  Jordan was already planning her service in the US Marine Corps, using her service to get her college education and ultimately to become a lawyer.  It was a pleasure to meet such a highly motivated young lady.” -Steve Yob, Deputy County Manager for Community Operations

“I had the honor of participating in Student Government Day a few weeks ago. The students were very informative and very polite. I walked them around Finance, and they did tours of Finance offices including Revenue, Real Estate and Risk Management. The students asked questions and the feedback was that they really enjoyed it. 2 of the students also participated in the mock Board Meeting which included a topic on raises for bus drivers.  In attendance was the County Manager and other board officials. The students really enjoyed the mock Board meeting. I truly enjoyed being a part of the student government day and look forward to working with the future students on Student Government Day.” -Brian Hicks, Department of Finance

“This was a great opportunity to spend the day discussing Henrico County and the structure of the Fire Department with our developing leaders.  The students were able to network and leave with several connections that they reach out to as they move towards their future careers.” -Jason Wood, Division of Fire

“The Department of Emergency Communications enjoyed, and appreciated, having the opportunity to interact with future leaders of Henrico County. We were able to show the behind-the-scenes activities it requires to run a 24/7 911 agency that processes over 500,000 calls per year. In addition, we were able to leverage the thoughts and ideas of our local students regarding communication methods and styles and dovetail that information into our communication strategy.” -Kevin Pond, Department of Emergency Communications

“Student Government Day provides a window into the future of our community.  The students who took the time to engage each brought a unique perspective on what a better future looks like for Henrico County.  For many this was their first visit to Henrico County’s offices and our hope is that students will continue to engage as citizens, employees, or partners to shape the future of their community.” -Matt Chafin, Department of Finance

“I’ve been involved with Student Government Day for many years in one way or another, but this was by far the most time I’ve spent with a participant. I was in frequent contact with our student, Anooshka Pendyal, in the weeks leading up to Student Government Day. Anooshka, who is a senior at Deep Run High School, was awesome to work with! For her project, she chose to address voter registration and eligibility with a slideshow and two short videos. She had great ideas and was engaged from the start. We bounced ideas back and forth, and she periodically updated me on her progress. Her presentation came together very well and got a good response at the mock board session. She was also enthusiastic about everything that unexpectedly came her way during the day. In keeping with the flexibility that we need to have in Public Relations, she embraced the idea of recording a PSA about the reflective WOAH! vests, as well as recording a Henrico Happenings podcast about her experience. Since she plans to major in AI/Data Science in college and wants to work on ethical uses of artificial intelligence, she asked me to put her in touch with Information Technology Director Travis Sparrow so she can get involved in Henrico County’s AI usage committee. Travis’s response was very enthusiastic, so I think we’ll be hearing more from Anooshka in the future!” -Ryan Eubanks, Public Relations


Henrico County Student Government Day 2024 Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0MDeZfeBOM