With the graduation ceremony during Monday’s City Commission meeting, the 2021 class of the Atchison Citizens Academy concluded.
The 11-person class met one evening weekly for five weeks with curriculum designed to demonstrate the way city government operates and the services that the city provides. Topics included the history of the city, the importance and make up of the annual budget, public works, public safety, water and wastewater utilities, economic development and community development.
City of Atchison intern Olivia Ortiz organized this year’s event, which was the second academy offered.
“We had people with a wide variety of ages and backgrounds attend,” Ortiz said. “It went really well.”
This year’s graduates were: Melissa Brooke, Tina Davis, Kevin Dykstra, Jesse Greenly, Connie Jacox, Mya Lacey, Mary Leihy, Coleen Murphy, Macy Pickman, Gerry Stanley and Kiley Surritt. The attendees ranged from college students to retired senior citizens.
City leaders intend to continue the program, looking to host one at least every other year – more frequently if demand dictates.
“City government should reflect the values and desires of the city residents,” Assistant City Manager Justin Pregont said. “Understanding how a city is structured and the challenges we face can help make residents more engaged and bringing different perspectives into the discussion helps us be more effective.”