City of Valdosta Celebrates Annual Government 101 Program Graduates

The City of Valdosta proudly announces the graduation of participants from its annual Government 101 program, a distinguished initiative led by the Valdosta Mayor and City Staff. This program provides local citizens with a comprehensive understanding of city governance, aiming to foster community engagement and informed civic participation.  

Participants were honored with certificates and a City of Valdosta coin, recognizing their dedication and commitment to the program during the graduation ceremony held on Monday, May 20th, 2024.  

The class of 2024 include Kalin Boutwell, Jacqueline Major, Chanel Randolph, Olgamae Thompson-Lovett, Bob Gordon, James Conyers, Chavonne Johnson, Mariana Santoyo-Brinkley, Melissa Mallory, Joy Gray, Adonna Smith, Burton Fletcher, Harold Andrade Borbor and Kasmira Smith. 

Mayor Scott James Matheson expressed his enthusiasm for the program, stating, “We are incredibly proud of their hard work and enthusiasm in learning about our local government. Government 101 is a cornerstone of our commitment to transparency and citizen engagement. By presenting the operations of our city government, we empower our residents to become active participants in our community’s growth and development.” 

The seven-week program commenced on April 1st, welcoming a diverse group of citizens from students to professionals and retirees, all united by their interest in understanding the intricate workings of their city government. Participants gathered every Monday evening from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., engaging in an in-depth exploration of various city departments and services.  

Throughout the program, attendees gained insights into the structure and functions of city government, including public safety, municipal court operations, engineering, public works, utilities, financial administration, industrial and economic development, recreation, inspections, neighborhood and community development, and planning and zoning. This immersive experience also featured visits to key government facilities, such as the Valdosta Municipal Court and the Valdosta Water Treatment Plant.  

City Manager Richard Hardy added, “The success of this program is a testament to the community's desire to engage and contribute meaningfully to our city's future. The knowledge and insights these graduates gained will have a lasting positive impact on our community.”  

Graduates of the Government 101 program leave with a heightened appreciation for the complexity of city governance and a renewed commitment to civic involvement.