Photo credits: Andrew Yousse, City of Conroe
CONROE, TEXAS (January 26, 2024) – Peet Junior High students enjoyed a seminar on local government with Conroe Mayor Jody Czajkoski and City Councilman Harry Hardman on Wednesday. Over 150 students gathered in the school lecture hall to hear their city representatives answer an assortment of questions, ranging from the pronunciation of Mayor Czajkoski’s name to the greatest challenges they’ve faced in life.
Students expressed surprise as Mayor Czajkoski explained they could run for mayor or council member once they turned 18. “That’s just five years!” one student declared, and without missing a beat, Mayor Czajkoski responded, “I’d vote for you!”
“What’s your favorite Conroe restaurant?” asked Jack Bancewicz, 7th grade Texas History student. Several popular restaurants came up – Pacific Yardhouse, Honor Cafe, 202 Main, but the room broke into cheers when Vernon’s Kuntry Katfish was mentioned.
Addy Fox, a representative from the Peet Yearbook staff, moved around the room taking photos throughout the event. “When they first came in,” said Fox, “the crowd of students just split in half to let them through. It was like the parting of the Red Sea. You could tell students were really impressed to have them here.”
Mayor Czajkoski and Councilman Hardman shared friendly banter as they passed a microphone back-and-forth between questions. “I’m going to start answering first because he’s taking all of my answers,” protested Councilman Hardman, after Mayor Czajkoski described visiting schools and talking with future leaders of Conroe as the best part of his job.
The local government seminar was organized by Charlene Bader, a Peet Junior High history teacher, who referenced requirements from the Texas Education Agency as one of the reasons they invited local leaders to meet with students. “The State of Texas requires 7th graders to understand the structure and functions of local government. It’s really awesome that Mayor Czajkoski and Councilman Hardman responded so enthusiastically about visiting.”
Following the seminar, Councilman Hardman reflected, “It was very gratifying to see the genuine interest of so many Peet students who wanted to understand how Municipal Government works and the challenges and rewards of holding office. The questions were both thoughtful and fun, and I look forward to doing it again next year. Kudos to Mrs. Bader for having the foresight to sponsor these sessions.”
Many students lined up for photos, handshakes, and even autographs, as the seminar on local government ended. Attendees received a city logo pin to commemorate the occasion, and Mayor Czajkoski and Councilman Hardman affirmed their vision for the students in their audience, that this next generation will recognize their potential in shaping the future of Conroe.