Mayor gives Sulphur Springs second graders local government lesson

Mayor Cameron Smyth takes a selfie with a group of second grade students at Sulphur Springs Community Elementary School on Sept. 26, 2017. Gina Ender/The Signal.
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With welcome signs in hand, Sulphur Springs Community Elementary School second grade students hosted Mayor Cameron Smyth for a question and answer session on Tuesday.

Students asked Smyth about everything from his dog to the inner workings of the city council, tying in their recent social studies unit on local government.

Having an elected official visit the students allowed them to see that government is active and not only something historical they are studying, teacher Beatriz Vargas said.

“They are learning how their community works and that their voices matter,” Vargas said.

The mayor told the multipurpose room full of seven and eight-year-olds that his daughter is currently in second grade, so he understood them well.

“I know all about your world,” Smyth said. “Any chance I get to talk to students, I always agree. It is the most fun part of my job.”

Mayor Cameron Smyth answers a group of second grade students’ questions at Sulphur Springs Community Elementary School on Sept. 26, 2017. Gina Ender/The Signal.

Smyth quizzed the group on Santa Clarita trivia, including how long it has been a city and how many people live in the valley. Many children were surprised to learn the city was only 30 years old and guessed it was much older.

Santa Clarita became incorporated 30 years ago to make sure decisions were being made locally and not in downtown Los Angeles at the county level, Smyth told the students.

“I became mayor because I didn’t want the city to have problems that a big city has,” he said. “I want to make sure this is a great place to grow up.”

His said his goal as mayor is to ensure safety, jobs and recreation are available to community members.

When asked if he had any relatives who also worked in government, Smyth shared that he uses his dad Clyde Smyth’s former office in city hall. Clyde served on the city council from 1994 to 1998. During 1997, he served as Mayor.

The most challenging part of his job is having to tell people “no” and the most rewarding is seeing aspects of the city he has played a part in making better, the current mayor said.

Growing up in the valley and attending local schools like the students he spoke to, Smyth assured them on several occasions that he really did like serving the city he has always called home.

“It’s very fun to be the mayor of my hometown,” he said.

Second grade students at Sulphur Springs Community Elementary School raise their hands to ask Mayor Cameron Smyth questions on Sept. 26, 2017. Gina Ender/The Signal.

After listening to the mayor speak, student Jake Candy said he would consider running for mayor himself.

“I’m thinking about it,” Candy said.

If he were elected, Candy said he would make sure the city was safe by hiring police officers and firefighters.

According to second grader Tida Lane, she has been eagerly anticipating meeting the mayor.

“I’ve been asking my mom to see the mayor and then he came,” Lane said. “I actually thought it was really great.”

Learning more about city government made Loren Rodriguez realize that being mayor would not be an easy job.

“It’s going to be hard,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a lot of work.”

Lorelei Riggen said she enjoyed hearing about the mayor’s work and could not wait to share what she had learned.

“I’m going to tell my family about it,” Riggen said.

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