By: Sharon Aron Baron
Local high school students will get a first-hand opportunity on how state and local government works at the 2017 Teen Political Forum, an open mic style event where students address their state and local elected officials.
Celebrating its 10th year on March 30, the Teen Political Forum was created in 2007 by former Mayor Roy Gold while he was a commissioner, and has gone on to become a huge annual event now led by Commissioner Larry Vignola assisted by city staff.
Last year’s Teen Political Forum wasn’t without its problems. With a restless crowd of over 1,500 students and over 50 volunteers, the commission discussed changes to be made at their annual retreat last August. One of the issues was the lack of faculty oversight in keeping the students attentive and in their seats. Another was some of the embarrassing questions that first needed to be reviewed by an adult. Mayor Skip Campbell also said that members of the commission were offended that Vignola named the trophy after himself in what was clearly a city-run event.
“It is a city-run project,” said Campbell. “If it is, should we be having any commissioner’s name or any mayors – or any persons instead of having the City of Coral Springs trophy?”
With every Teen Political Forum, state, county along with Broward County School Board officials will be in attendance including city officials from Coral Springs: Mayor Skip Campbell; Vice Mayor Dan Daley; and Commissioners Joy Carter, Lou Cimaglia and Larry Vignola.
Coral Glades, Coral Springs, Coral Springs Charter, J. P. Taravella, Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Coral Springs Christian Academy are high schools that attend this award-winning event each year.
Before the official event starts, students will be treated to complimentary food items donated by local restaurants, while supplies last. Participants will also have an opportunity to win prizes and earn service hours – but must stay until the end of the event to be eligible. The school with the largest attendance stands to win a Traveling Trophy, as well as $1,000 in cash to be used for a school-related improvement program. No pre-registration is required.
Keep up with what teens are saying on Twitter by searching #TeenPoliticalForum or follow them at @TeenPolForum.
The event will be held from March 30, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts located at 2855 Coral Springs Drive.