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St. Jerome students learn from Fort Lauderdale mayor

Stormwater construction project launched from school grounds aims to improve drainage in flood prone neighborhood

 

FORT LAUDERDALE | It was a learning experience they won’t soon forget: St. Jerome School’s student council members had the opportunity to interview Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis during a groundbreaking ceremony for the largest stormwater project in the city’s history.

 

Jan. 14, 2022
FT. LAUDERDALE

City of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis speaks with student council members at St. Jerome School, who also doubled as student reporters at the groundbreaking for a stormwater project on Jan. 14, 2022. From left to right is Jaedin Slaick, Adriana Zumbado, Kaitlyn Foley, Sabrina Dohert, and Mason Rayfield.

Photographer: CRISTINA CABRERA JARRO| FC

Jan. 14, 2022 FT. LAUDERDALE City of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis speaks with student council members at St. Jerome School, who also doubled as student reporters at the groundbreaking for a stormwater project on Jan. 14, 2022. From left to right is Jaedin Slaick, Adriana Zumbado, Kaitlyn Foley, Sabrina Dohert, and Mason Rayfield.

Father Joseph Maalouf, administrator of St. Jerome Church, invokes a prayer during the groundbreaking for a stormwater project for the neighborhoods of Edgewood and River Oaks, both a part of the City of Fort Lauderdale, on Jan. 14, 2022. Next to Father Maalouf is Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis.

Photographer: CRISTINA CABRERA JARRO| FC

Father Joseph Maalouf, administrator of St. Jerome Church, invokes a prayer during the groundbreaking for a stormwater project for the neighborhoods of Edgewood and River Oaks, both a part of the City of Fort Lauderdale, on Jan. 14, 2022. Next to Father Maalouf is Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis.

Representatives from the city, commissioners, local media, and residents of the Edgewood neighborhood, where St. Jerome is located, and River Oaks, gathered on school grounds Jan. 14, 2022 for the event.

Prior to the press conference, eighth graders Jaedin Slaick, Adriana Zumbado, Kaitlyn Foley, Sabrina Dohert and Mason Rayfield, who make up the student council, received a tutorial on reporting from staff of the Archdiocese of Miami’s Office of Communications. They helped the students prepare questions for the mayor regarding construction, the environmental benefits of the stormwater pipes, flood relief, and more.

At the groundbreaking, the students, wearing their reporter’s badges and with written questions on index cards, stood at the front row with other local media, waiting for their opportunity to meet the mayor. They also watched as Father Joseph Maalouf, administrator of St. Jerome Church, led a prayer for the success of the works ahead.

Following the press conference, those in attendance moved to the street on the south side of the school, where ceremonial shovels had been placed for the groundbreaking. Mayor Trantalis, Commissioner Ben Sorensen, and other representatives picked up the shovels, dug into the dirt, and threw out the first mounds of dirt for the work. The mayor then invited the students, as well as their principal, Tara Marino, and Father Maalouf to shovel the next scoop of dirt.

“It was a great day,” said Marino afterward.