Contact: Kelly Martins
Public Information Office
ELIZABETH, NJ—May 23, 2017 — Earlier today, Elizabeth students were given the opportunity to observe municipal business as part of the 63rd Annual Youth in Government Day. This year’s event was chaired by Councilman Frank O. Mazza.
“Today, students experienced first-hand how the City operates on a daily basis,” said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “Throughout the course of the day, elected officials provided insight on their roles and shared responsibilities with their students. I hope this event inspired them to become active and concerned participants in government.”
Sponsored by Elizabeth’s City Council, this year’s Youth in Government Day included 37 young people from Elizabeth’s public and parochial high schools. Upon arrival, students gathered in Council Chambers and were assigned to officials. Following introductions, the young people spent a portion of the morning learning job responsibilities from their advisors.
The students took an external tour of the city for a first-hand view of the economic development and new initiatives that are occurring.  At noon, they gathered for a luncheon at Dolce Restaurant on South Broad Street in Elizabeth. 
As a part of the day’s events, Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, presented the annual Mayor’s Youth of the Year Award to Krystal Maldonado, a senior at Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy. Since its inception 52 years ago, the Youth of the Year Award has recognized students for school leadership and community service.
Krystal was chosen to receive this award for demonstrating responsible leadership in school organizations and community service. Currently, she ranks number three in her graduating class and spends her free time volunteering, attending various school events, serving as the Senior Class President as well as the “Voice of the School.” 
A committee of representative members of the community are assigned the task of selecting one student from the list of names placed in nomination by the principals of the public, private and parochial high schools in Elizabeth. This year’s members included: Jennifer Cedeno, Ed.D., Chairperson (non-voting member), Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning; Yvonne Smith, Proprietor/Director of Smith Funeral Home; Donald Johnson, Supervisor of the City of Elizabeth’s Office of Youth Services; Phyllis Reich, Project Coordinator-Redevelopment for the City of Elizabeth’s Department of Planning & Community Development and John Gibardi, President/CEO of Entertainment Industries Federal Credit Union.
The activity-filled Youth in Government Day concluded with an afternoon City Council meeting, where the students served as representatives for their assigned City Officials. Each year the Weekly City Council meeting is changed from its usual 7:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. meeting time in order to accommodate the student officials. At the end of the day, the students were presented with certificates of merit for their professionalism and performance throughout the event.