High school senior Gimbala Sankare, an intern in Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s office, will get to put his political knowledge into practice for the first time Saturday, December 10, when he serves as the New York City Council Speaker during the fourth annual CUNY/College Now Model City Council meeting.
Sankare, an honor student at the David A. Stein Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy in the Bronx and a College Now student at Hunter College, will lead other high school students from noon to 3 p.m. in the Council Chamber in City Hall in a debate and vote on the new law that permits free Sunday parking on city streets, sometimes dubbed “Pay to Pray.”
“This is a great opportunity for young people to walk in the shoes of Councilmembers to learn what it is like to balance legislation with constituent needs. Hopefully, this experience will stimulate their continued interest in public service,” said City University of New York Chancellor Matthew Goldstein.
Sankare and the more than 50 other juniors and seniors who will represent City Council districts are enrolled in CUNY/College Now, an innovative program that pairs high schools and CUNY colleges. For a month, they have been preparing for their roles in special training sessions in which they learn about the functions and processes of legislatures in a democracy and the realities associated with policy-making and representation in a diverse city, as well as more general skills like public speaking.
After the Model City Council gets under way under Sankare’s leadership, three New York City Council members — Yvette Clarke, Robert Jackson and Larry Seabrook — will be honored for their continued support of The City University of New York and public higher education in the city. Council members Charles Barron, Gale Brewer and Letitia James will be among other Council members attending.
Born and raised in Ghana, Sankare helps Sen. Clinton’s constituents with immigration issues, writing letters of support and acting as their liaison to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services.
A participant in the National Model United Nations Conference, the world’s largest university-level simulation of the United Nations, Sankare, a Bronx resident, is active in several school and community organizations. In addition to being president of the student body at Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy, he is captain of the varsity soccer team, president of the Environmental Club and vice president of the Gay Straight Alliance. He is also the student representative for Community Council District No. 10.
College Now, a collaborate initiative of CUNY’s 17 campuses and the New York City Department of Education that serves more than 51,000 students in 171 city high schools, aims to improve academic achievement of high school students and to ensure that they graduate ready for college-level work. Qualified students also may take introductory college-credit courses at their high schools or on the campus of the participating CUNY college. Classes and workshops are held before or after school or on Saturdays.
High School Students To Debate “Pay to Pray”
In CUNY/College Now Model City Council
Time: Saturday, December 10
Noon to 3 p.m.
Place: City Council Chamber
Jay Hershenson: 212.794.5317
Michael Arena: 212.794.5685