A student group at Harker Heights High School is bridging the gap between teenage interests and city government.
The Knights of the Roundtable will host a summer concert series at Carl Levin Park, along with a senior send-off party May 31 and back-to-school party next fall, said Lisa Youngblood, director of the Stewart C. Meyer Library. The concerts are at 7 p.m. May 31, June 27 and July 28 at Carl Levin Park.
The Roundtable’s 11 members brainstorm and organize events, while the city provides the staff and funds to carry them out, Youngblood said. The group helped coordinate an April 27 concert and the Comanche Gap Park cleanup April 20.
For this month’s concert, city employees will set up the amphitheater, pay for publicity, lights and sound and help staff the event, Youngblood said.
“But other than that, (the students) run it. They do all the social networking as advertisement; they put up the posters across town.”
The May concert will feature Ivory Summit, Not Our Own and Eternal Outcasts, all Harker Heights students.
The Knights of the Roundtable formed in February, after city officials, including City Manager Steve Carpenter and Mayor Pro Tem Pat Christ, proposed to Principal David Manley a partnership between the school and city, said David Smith, student activities director.
“In the long term, we want to put in an event going on from year to year,” Carpenter said. “We want to make it something that’ll grow and perpetuate itself.”
Smith said concerts allow non-athletes to display their talent. “Whatever we do, we’ll be showcasing student talent,” he said.
Roundtable member Jessica Babb, a junior, said the concerts also give musically-inclined students who aren’t in the school band a chance to express themselves.
“We’re trying to widen the variety of what you can find in Harker Heights as our community,” Babb said.
Chase Lalouette, a junior, said the group works directly with the council in bimonthly meetings, and the relationship has been very reciprocal. Their next meeting is May 22.
“Not that the school or the administration is difficult to work with, but there are definitely a lot more flags that go up in school when you try and coordinate things,” Lalouette said. “The city council is very efficient. We started meeting in mid-March, and we planned a concert for April.”
Babb said she was surprised by the lack of red tape she has encountered working with the council.
“They want our ideas,” Babb said. “They want to do something to help us be able to give back to the community. ... (They say), ‘Yeah, let’s give it a try, let’s do it.’”
Lalouette said she used to brush off her godmother’s suggestions to pursue a career in local government, but working with the council has piqued her interest. “I definitely think this is something I’ll do or look more into,” Lalouette said.
Youngblood said she hoped the student-government relationship helped students realize that government can work for the people.
“We want to give them ownership in our city,” Youngblood said. “The teens with which we’re working have amazing energy. It’s giving us a lot of great ideas for what we can do in the future.”