Cape Coral City Council appointed the first 14 members of the new Youth Council at Monday night's regular meeting.
Each member of council interviewed twice the number of applicants prior to Monday's meeting at which they chose one senior and one junior student from the city's six high schools, including Cape Coral students attending North Fort Myers High and two at-large members.
"I am real happy to finally get to this point," said Councilmember Rick Williams, who spearheaded the process of creating the council.
Seniors will serve just a one-year term in this first year of the council while juniors will serve two-year terms and each incoming junior going forward. The Youth Council serves in the capacity of an advisory board, just like any other appointed boards and committees.
"I think we should go with the schools' recommendations to serve," said Councilmember Jim Burch. "All of these kids are acceptable, so we can't go wrong with any of them."
As each council member voted for each school's candidates, several 4-4 tie votes were settled by one on council changing his or her vote.
Students appointed were - senior Javier Diaz and junior Maxwell Slafer from Cape Coral High; senior Tabatha Lehmann and junior Alexis Ellsworth of Ida Baker; senior Max McCardle-Sykes and junior Riley Hare of Island Coast; senior Michael Gibbs and junior Madeline Miller of Mariner; senior Sofia Pultro and junior Austin Wilson of North Fort Myers; senior Branden Pearson and junior Oriana Troche of Oasis; the at-large appointees are senior Jacob Williamson and junior Olivia Cerretani.
"To those students out there watching who were not selected, please stay involved," said Councilmember Richard Leon. "Come to the meetings, come to the podium and bring your ideas and concerns. You are part of government as an advisory board."
Youth Council members get to learn the inner workings of local governing while focusing on ideas and issues important to their peer generation. They will operate just like City Council does with twice-monthly meetings to bring forth recommendations to the council for consideration.
The new council has its first public meeting from 2:30-4:30 p.m. on Feb. 24 in council chambers. Meetings are scheduled every other Friday after that.
The new Youth Council grew out of a Florida League of Cities conference attended by Williams and former council member Derrick Donnell in 2015. They had their first exposure to a youth council at work and thought the idea was worth creating for Cape Coral.