WCS students ‘shadow’ Cutler Bay town manager

WCS students ‘shadow’ Cutler Bay town manager

Pictured (l-r) are Sandra Cuervo, Building and Code Compliance Division manager; WCS students Kristen Lazarus and Tim Irvin; Julian Perez, Community Development director, and Rafael Casals, town manager.

As part of a special course at Westminster Christian School in Palmetto Bay, students Kristen Lazarus and Tim Irvin “shadowed” the Cutler Bay town manager for half a day to gain a better understanding of what the job entails.

After an hour-long briefing on how local government operates, the students then went to work on a project the manager’s office was completing. Town manager Rafael Casals explained what they did.

“Their assignment was to perform follow- up calls to parents who visited the town’s booth during the recent HealthSouth community event and requested bicycle safety helmets,” Casals said. “Additionally, the students were provided with a CD version of our Fiscal Year 2013-14 Budget which they will use to create a report for their government class.”

Town staffers had given away more than 105 children’s bicycle helmets during HealthSouth’s Health Fair on Sept. 21, but at least 26 parents had signed a “stand-by” list for safety helmets. The students called them to let them know that more helmets were available.

Lazarus, who is a senior at WCS and has been accepted to Auburn University where she will attend next fall, said she gained insight from the experience.

“I was impressed at how friendly and nice the town manager was,” Lazarus said. “Spending the day shadowing him helped me realize how much the town does to help its residents.”

Tim Irvin, a junior at WCS and a standout athlete, lives in Cutler Bay and already has several college scholarship offers. He also was impressed.

“I never imagined that working for local government could be that exciting,” Irvin said. “After spending the day working with the town manager and his staff, I could see how it could be a career choice for me.”

The course at Westminster, called “Career Research and Decision Making,” is aimed at helping students who are unsure of what they want to study when they go to college declare a major. They spend 18 weeks examining different careers, developing a personal portfolio and learning about interview and on-thejob skills, according to Ana Poveda, WCS spokesperson.

“This course is designed to give students time to examine their own personalities, research different careers of their interest, and actually spend a day on the job with at least three professionals in careers of their interest,” Poveda said. “By the end of the course, some students will zero in on a specific career; others may simply identify a career area of interest.”

The town manager says that although they have only a small core of staff dealing with various projects throughout the day, they want to take the time to give back to the community whenever possible.

“Our town staff is committed to continue mentoring programs with all of our local schools and look forward to future opportunities,” Casals said.

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