Boulder Daily Camera- September 11, 2009
By Amy Bounds, Camera Staff Writer
LAFAYETTE -- Teens took over the City Council meeting in Lafayette on Tuesday night.
Centaurus High School students, as part of the University of Colorado's Public Achievement project, ran a mock City Council meeting and made presentations. The goal, organizers said, was to give students a taste of local government.
After the council meeting, the teens and council members talked about how to come up with intergenerational solutions to local problems.
"A lot of people are starting to recognize youth," said Centaurus senior Nick Sias. "They're starting to pay attention to the future, which is us."
Council member Carolyn Cutler encouraged the students "to be involved and show up and try and make changes."
The students, who are in either the "Advancement Via Individual Determination" or "I Have a Dream" programs, are researching projects with the help of CU student mentors. Two of the groups presented their ideas Tuesday during the mock City Council meeting -- one is proposing a movie theater, the other wants a community forum on youth gang violence.
Alex Murray, a Centaurus junior who's proposing the movie theater, said Lafayette is lacking in entertainment options.
"It would be something for everyone of all ages," he said.
The group suggested either a community theater or a larger franchise could work, saying neighboring communities could boost customer numbers. One of the empty big-box stores on South Boulder Road was deemed the best location.
Murray said the mock council meeting was a good experience.
"It was fun to experience council without having all the pressure," he said.
Sunny Gomez, a Centaurus sophomore, said he wants to bring more awareness about the issue of gang violence as a former gang member. He said he joined a gang in middle school because of problems at home, thinking he could find family in a gang.
"I found myself getting in more fights, in more trouble," he said. "It was not worth it. There are gangs in Lafayette. I would like to see it cleaned up."
His group is proposing a school assembly with a former gang member and a community forum on the topic.
He said he likes the Public Achievement project because "it gives young people a voice."
"We're not just a bunch of teenagers who don't know what we're talking about."