Government Day is an annual event that takes place every year in Orange with support from local officials and the Amity Middle School Orange (AMSO) community. Each year students get the opportunity to learn more about the day-to-day operations of the town’s infrastructure; and this year, as always, the students had a fantastic time!
On Tuesday, October 20th, seventh graders and eighth graders began their day with an overview session led by Town Clerk, Pat O’Sullivan. After explaining that he is from a family of public service and has had decades’ worth of experience in local and state government, Mr. O’Sullivan described the government’s function as “do[ing] what collectively can’t be done individually.” He also told students about Orange’s transformation from being a part of Milford in the 1630s to its split with West Haven in 1822 and how it became the Orange that we recognize today in 1921.
First Selectman, Jim Zeoli, also took the time to speak to AMSO students. In fact, he explained just how much he looked forward to speaking with the students. Mr. Zeoli encouraged students to reflect on their Government Day experiences, as they have the potential to have long-lasting effects. The opportunities the students had will stick with them well into their futures.
The following students were chosen for specific positions based on essays they submitted: First Selectman, Srilekha Kadimi; Police Chief, Caroline McNabola; Building Inspector, Rachel Eagle; Fire Marshal, Alexandra DaVia; Assessor, Kennedy Csejka; Community Services Director, Ameya Menta; Parks and Recreation Department, Marty Gnidula; Planning and Zoning, Ana Carney; Tax Collector, Samantha Louros; Town Clerk, Vera Belfonti; Librarian, Julia Proto; Public Works, Bella Lee; Sanitarian, Mia Zajac; Registrar of Voters, Georgia Smith; and Town Engineer, Abby Bonat.
Dr. Charles Dumais, Amity Region 5 Superintendent; Kathi Fuller-Cutler, AMSO principal; and Jennifer Marganski, AMSO social studies teacher and the event’s organizer, joined the participating students at Chip’s for lunch (courtesy of AMSO Student Council funding). Dr. Dumais remarked, “What a great opportunity for students the day is.” Staff asked excited students over pancakes and home fries about their positions. Vera Belfonti had wanted to see how records are kept and how licenses are signed and documented. She learned all about this process from her morning with Mr. O’Sullivan. Ameya Menta, who wrote in her essay that she “started a fundraiser for Nepal in [AMSO] because Community Service really is something I am passionate about,” was able to spend her morning going to Peck Place to pick up supplies from the elementary school for a paper drive organized by Community Services. Additionally, Ana Carney, who filled the position of Planning and Zoning for the morning, wrote in her essay submission, “I often wonder when I drive past the old Enchanted Gardens what type of business could go there.” Like the other participants she was able to ask questions and learn so much in the process. This would not have been possible without Government Day. Indeed, the town of Orange will continue to have a bright future if these students have anything to say about it! Special thanks to Office Manager, Karen Goldberg, for helping to coordinate the Government Day activities.
Back left to right: Ameya Menta, Bella Lee, Marty Gnidula, Mia Zajac, Alexandra DaVia
Middle left to right: Rachel Eagle, Caroline McNabola, Georgia Smith, Ana Carney, Vera Belfonti
Front left to right: Kennedy Csejka, Julia Proto, Abby Bonat, Srilekha Kadimi