High School Students Connect With Local Government Leaders for Ethical Governance Day

On April 28, 2021, Xceed Preparatory Academy’s four campuses in Coral Springs, Daytona Beach, Kendall/Pinecrest and Weston, along with its sister school, Xceed Anywhere, hosted an Ethical Governance Day event to learn more about the legal and judicial systems, as well as careers in the public sector.

“Our ultimate goal with Ethical Governance Day was to expose high schoolers to local government officials in a positive way,” shared Nicholas Borgmeyer, the Social Studies teacher for Xceed Preparatory Academy-Coral Springs. “This allows kids to ask questions, get feedback and develop relationships with professionals in the field.”

Forty-four high school students, Xceed staff and special guests attended the virtual event which included the following panelists:

  • Angie Pagan, Attorney, Law Office of Angie Pagan, Esq.
  • Danielle Sherriff, Assistant State Attorney
  • Erica Whitfield, Palm Beach County School Board Member, District 4
  • Marty Kiar, Broward County Property Appraiser
  • Peter Cruise, Affiliate Associate Professor Executive Director, LeRoy Collins Public Ethics Academy School of Public Administration, Florida Atlantic University
  • Samantha Feuer, Judge, 15th Judicial Circuit
  • Stacey Schulman, Judge, 17th Judicial Circuit
  • Yvette Drucker, Boca Raton City Council Member

For Judge Samantha Feuer, connecting with students is a passion of hers and something she has done for years.

“I want kids to have a positive experience with the law and government before they have a negative one,” she noted. “Students also need to know why they should voice their concerns as citizens and how to do it in an impactful way.”

Bringing Government Expertise to Students—Virtually

The day’s virtual, synchronous activities started with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by introductions and a Kahoot interactive quiz that covered all branches of government.

The students were then broken into small groups where they had the opportunity to ask questions of individual panelists, such as:

  • What do people do on jury duty and why is it so important?
  • What inspired you to serve the community?
  • What role does the government have in keeping schools safe?
  • How does someone get involved in the school board?
  • What do you wish you knew at our age?
  • What path did you take in school and your career to get the job you have today?

“With Ethical Governance Day, we are making governance personal,” shared Erica Whitfield, who has served Palm Beach County School Board, District 4 since 2014. “I want students to know government needs to reflect the people they serve. I also want them to understand how to reach government officials, how to work with them and how to become one.”

Judge Feuer agreed, stating, “These activities build positive relationships. Not only does Ethical Governance Day benefit students, but it also helps us, as public servant leaders, look at our own jobs in different ways and better understand those we serve. It’s a great opportunity for us all to learn from one another.”

An XPA-Coral Springs 9th-grader shared that sentiment: “As someone who would like to pursue a criminal justice career, I really appreciate hearing from females in roles similar to the one I’d like to take myself! I especially enjoyed hearing from Ms. Pagan, because she’s someone I can absolutely see myself being like in the future.”

Another Coral Springs student, in 11th grade, commented, “Today was an eye-opening experience. I had no idea how much these individuals really have done for us!”

The event was held virtually to accommodate Xceed students from across the state, but that did not hamper the learning experience, according to Tracey Smith, Head of School for Xceed Preparatory Academy-Coral Springs.

“Watching the spark spread across the screen as the students got into the Ethical Governance Day activities was priceless,” she said. “They felt connected to local government in a way that cannot be achieved in a textbook. This was a day they will not forget, and we are so appreciative of the incredible panel members who took time out of their busy schedules to meet with our students.”