Summerdale students become town officials “For a Day”

By Jessica Vaughn / jessica@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 4/12/18

SUMMERDALE – The town of Summerdale had some brand-new employees on April 4 – a group of Summerdale students who reported in for work as the mayor for the day (winner Rylie Jones), two police …

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Summerdale students become town officials “For a Day”

From left to right: Mayor David Wilson; Rylie Jones, Mayor for the Day; Katelyn Forland, Firefighter for the Day; Police Chief Jim Davis; Finely Wren, Police Chief for the Day; and Nate Steiner, Police Chief for the Day.
From left to right: Mayor David Wilson; Rylie Jones, Mayor for the Day; Katelyn Forland, Firefighter for the Day; Police Chief Jim Davis; Finely Wren, Police Chief for the Day; and Nate Steiner, Police Chief for the Day.
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SUMMERDALE – The town of Summerdale had some brand-new employees on April 4 – a group of Summerdale students who reported in for work as the mayor for the day (winner Rylie Jones), two police chiefs for the day (winners Finely Wren and Nate Steiner), and firefighter for the day (winner Katelyn Forland).

“We want the students to know that these are people to trust and build relationships with,” said Rhonda Steiner, who manages the Summerdale Booster Club. “We want them to know that if they need help, these are people they can go to, they don’t have to be scared, and to give them a sense of community and to let them know what’s going on in the community.”

Initially, the idea of “For a Day” began during 2017 and was introduced during the Fall Festival Silent Auction. Students were able to bid on filling roles not only within the town but also within the school, such as principal for the day, vice principal for the day, and coach for the day.

The Summerdale Booster Club is newly formed and in its first year of operation, and when the “For a Day” silent auction was suggested during a meeting, the club managers weren’t sure how it would take off. When the club approached Mayor David Wilson with the idea, he was happy to help.

“The students who went to Town Hall were very excited,” said Steiner. “Chief Jim Davis picked them up during the morning in his police SUV, they were able to visit with people during Coffee with a Cop, then go to the mayor’s office.”

Aside from meeting town citizens at the Senior Center and employees in Public Works, the Summerdale Library, and Town Hall, the students were also treated by Wilson and Davis to lunch and given certificates saying what they each were for the day. As with any job, the day wasn’t just fun and games, as the students were now in town positions.

“We staged a complaint call after lunch,” said Wilson. “We had an employee make a phone call and say that they had gone to the town splash park and there was all kinds of trash out there, and when Rylie Jones [mayor for the day] came running into my office to tell us, we told her that she was the mayor, so she was going to have to handle this.”

Wilson said Rylie proceeded to do just that, as she returned to the phone and apologized to the caller, promising her that the issue would be taken care of and that she would personally investigate the matter and make sure that it would not happen again. After hanging up and being asked what her next move would be, Rylie was ready.

“She said, ‘I guess I need to call the guy that does all the work around town,’” said Wilson. They had Rylie call Public Works Director Lee Irwin and tell him of the problem and that they needed to fix it as well as prevent it from happening again.

“We finally told her it was staged, but she handled it really, really well,” Wilson said. “At the end of the day we let Rylie pass a proclamation so that all children in Summerdale school could go to school out of uniform Friday, April 6. We got the principal in on it and did it for the entire school. It was a really great day.”

The Booster Club is hoping to do the “For a Day” auction annually after the success of the first event, and with the excitement felt by the first group of children, Steiner believes next year will be even more coveted.

“All the kids came back and bragged about getting to do the jobs and how fun it was, so I think we’ll have a lot more competition to win these roles next year,” said Steiner. “And I’d like to thank the mayor and the chief and everyone who participated, they really went above and beyond to make this happen. They were so excited, they gave the kids goody bags and let them pass a proclamation, they did much more than I expected them to do. Everybody had a wonderful time.”

To learn more about the Summerdale Booster Club, follow them on Facebook.

For information on the Town of Summerdale, you can find their website at www.SummerdaleAl.com.