For a portion of one meeting in City Council chambers last Thursday afternoon, Mayor Mike Leonard sat in the back without saying a word or lifting his gavel. Instead, a new mayor was seated in his seat, asking for motions and making decisions on the issues of the day.
Haleigh Auck, a student at Hesperia High School, conferred with fellow "council members" and led a decision that would affect the city's off-roading ordinance.

Actually, Auck's time in the mayor's seat, which she later shared with Sultan Tanisha Cadena, was part of the city's annual Youth in Government - Job Shadowing Day that pairs students from Hesperia's four public high schools with key city staff members. Earlier in the day, Auck shadowed City Engineer John Leveillee and Cadena followed Code Enforcement department head Tony Genovesi. The mock City Council meeting culminated a day at City Hall for the nearly 30 students from Hesperia High, Sultana High, Mojave High and Canyon Ridge.

The following students participated in this year's event with their mentor and role in the mock meeting in parentheses:

HESPERIA HIGH: Khasarah Afleje (Police Captain, Mayor Pro Tem), Haleigh Auck (City Engineer John Leveillee, Council Member), Reid Coultas (City Engineer John Leveille, Council Member), Analina Gonzalez (Assistant City Manager Brian Johnson, Director of Development Services), Frank Gutierrez (Principal Planner Dave Reno, Principal Planner), Jessica Johnson (Development Services Director Tom Harp, Mayor Pro Tem), Jonathan Jordan (City Manager Mike Podegracz, City Manager), Danielle Kershner (Public Information Officer Kelly Malloy, PIO), Anthony Sheldon (Economic Development Director Steve Lantsberger, N/A for meeting), Tiffany Turner (Human Resources Director Berta Barocio-Sullivan, Public Member) Megan Waltman (City Manager Mike Podegracz, City Manager).

SULTANA HIGH: Virchelle Allen (Coleen Godfrey - Com. Dev., Public Member), Tanisha Cadena (Code Enforcement Director Tony Genovesi, Mayor), Jonathan Cleland (Coleen Godfrey - Com. Dev., City Attorney), Michael Lyman (Rick Ochoa - MIS, Council Member), Aaron Reed (Police Captain, Deputy Director of Development Services), A'asksean Roberts (PIO Kelly Malloy, City Clerk), Victoria Safford (Director Dev. Svs. Scott Priester, Public Member), Kayla White (City Clerk Vicki Soderquist, City Clerk).

MOJAVE HIGH: Kyle Beadles (Tony Genovesi - Code Enforcement, Public Member), Virginia Corona (Anne Duke - Finance, Assistant City Manager), Corey Franklin (Berta Barocio-Sullivan - Human Resources, Council Member), Sarah Soria (Scott Priester - Director Deve. Svs., Public Member), Christopher White (Assist. City Manager Brian Johnson, Council Member).

CANYON RIDGE: Kristina Avent (Jill Wyman - Water Billing, City Attorney), Brian Escorcia (Principal Planner Dave Reno, Council Member), Desarie Gonzalez (Fire Battalion Chief Sid Hultquist, Pub Member), Roni Hanke (Fire Battalion Chief Sid Hultquist, Council Member), Feada Kakish (Steve Lantsberger - Economic Development, Director of Development Services), Jose Trujillo (Tom Harp - Develop. Services, Public Member).