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Staff photo by Sabrina Bodon / Ten LaFayette High School students make up the city's Junior Council, an outlet for them to voice their opinions on how the city can improve.

Some LaFayette High School students are concerned there isn't enough for kids to do in town after school. That will soon change with the help of the city.

Through a new collaboration between the high school and the LaFayette City Council, the students formed an advisory Junior Council that is giving them a voice in their community and an audience that's willing to listen.

The students currently have their eyes set on improving the LaFayette Recreation Center. During their second meeting, held in October at the rec center, they discussed various programming options to engage students of all grade levels, as well as cosmetic touch-ups that would make the center more appealing to visit, like new flooring and paint.

Based on their suggestions, the center is hosting a kickball tournament for LaFayette High School students during their weeklong Thanksgiving break, and there are plans to host a winter dance there in February.

"This is the first dance that's been held at the rec in a long time," said Sarah Jenkins, advisor of the club.

As the school's community crew leader, she works to connect students to service opportunities throughout the community or school. And the rec center is the perfect place to start, said student Andrew Hamm, 16.

There aren't too many places in town for students to go to after school or on weekends, he said.

"It seems like the only place we're ever all together is at school. It shouldn't be like that," said Hamm.

The Junior Council's 10 members were selected based on their leadership and other activities at school.

"We chose them because they are upstanding and outstanding students with excellent reputations," Jenkins said. "We gave them the choice to accept this appointment and all of them accepted."

Hamm is also part of JROTC and Key Club and said community service is important to him. But the appeal of the Junior Council goes much further.

"I'm especially glad to see students being able to have a say about what goes on in our community," he said.

City Councilman Chris Davis brought the idea of the Junior Council to city and high school officials in September. Since then, he's been leading the students alongside Jenkins and City Manager David Hamilton to foster an environment where the students can actively participate in their local government.

"Being that this is a new creation, there are infinite possibilities on how to structure this Junior Council," said Hamilton, who has suggested making the students a formal advisory council to the city board.

Speaking to the students at the Nov. 15 meeting, Davis thanked them for their participation thus far.

"Thank you guys for sticking in and being on the council," he said. "You guys will actually have a voice and be able to participate in things that are happening."

Email Sabrina Bodon at sbodon@timesfreepress.com

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