PCHS juniors step behind the desks and into the trucks on Student Government Day

May 21, 2024 | Featured, Schools | 0 comments

Brooklyn Starkey climbs to the top of a ladder truck with Advanced EMT Firefighter Robert Ward. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)


On May 14, several Port Clinton High School juniors stepped out of the classroom to learn about career opportunities in government right in their own neighborhood. Student Government Day created opportunities to shadow local officials in several departments, including the mayor’s office, the waste water treatment plant, municipal court and the police department.

Students Griffin Nelson and Connor Earnest spent the morning with Port Clinton Mayor Mike Snider and Safety Service Director Tracy Colston. The group traveled from one end of the city to the other, visiting places like the Port Clinton Lighthouse, local parks and cemeteries, and the former and current city garages.

Setting a path to the future can be difficult for a teen. Sometimes the decisions come easily, and sometimes a road opens up organically later in life.

“At your age, I had absolutely no plans to be a mayor,” Snider told the boys. “I found my way back home to Port Clinton and served on city council for eight years. I saw some things I didn’t care for and decided to run for mayor.”

Colston said he and Snider talk at least twice a day about the city’s operations.

Connor Earnest, left, and Griffin Nelson visited the city garage while shadowing Port Clinton Mayor Mike Snider and Safety Service Director Tracy Colston on Student Government Day. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

“I don’t run the city. It’s Tracy Colston who actually runs the day-to-day operations,” Snider said.

As the group drove around the city, Colston pointed out the many things his staff does to keep the city safe, functioning and looking nice. Among many other duties, they fix water lines, plow snow, assist with festivals, and mow city parks and cemeteries, including weed whacking around every grave.

Earnest chose to shadow the mayor and safety service director to explore jobs in city government. He had many questions throughout the day. He asked how Colston determines which roads need resurfaced and how soon residents must clear sidewalks when it snows.

“It has to be done by 24 hours after the last snowflake,” Snider said.

Of all the many things that Nelson and Earnest learned that day, they were most surprised that the extensive city maintenance work is done by only eight employees.

From left, Port Clinton Mayor Mike Snider, Connor Earnest, Griffin Nelson and Safety Service Director Tracy Colston visit the city garage. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

“I’m surprised by the staffing they use to keep the entire city on its feet,” Nelson said. “That’s a lot of work for eight people to do. I feel like those workers deserve more recognition for what they do.”

Student Brooklyn Starkey chose to shadow the Port Clinton Fire Department crew because she is considering a career in EMS. While at the station, she had the opportunity to climb to the top of a ladder truck.

“I tried not to look down going up, but once I was at the top, it wasn’t too bad,” Starkey said.

Starkey tried equipment, toured the station, and explored fire trucks, but one thing stuck out the most to her.

“I learned how much of a family they have here,” she said. “I didn’t expect them to be so close. I really like that.”

Student Nora Rosario shadowed City of Port Clinton Administrative Assistant Sandye Ostheimer. Rosario learned that what seems like a simple office job is a very complicated position.

“She takes care of a lot more than I expected,” Rosario said. “I’m shocked at how much she does.”

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June 2024

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