THE reins have been handed over and there are some tough shoes to fill, but the new Junior City Council mayor plans to do it with a bang.
Grade 11 student at Collegiate High School, Abigail Butcher, has recently stepped up to the plate and it is business as usual with the petite red-head who is excited at her year ahead.
Abi – as her family and friends know her – was voted junior mayor by a council of her peers after making the cut through a tough interview process by her school.
It was quite a prestigious moment for the former Johannesburg girl who said she loves Port Elizabeth and is totally a small town girl.
She said the Junior City Council’s (JCC) main aim was to serve the community and give back where they could.
It is funded by the Lions Club of Port Elizabeth and not the municipality.
“In some ways it is a mutual relationship between our charities and us.”
There are a host of set projects that Abi is involved in including beach clean-ups, anti drug marches, a Christmas party hosted by JCC at the Protea house of safety, and also Genie’s Kitchen in Malabar that feeds in excess of 300 children.
“We help prepare the food and then most of all play with the children,” said Abi.
“Many of the children don’t just come there for food but also the joy of playing with one another and us,” said Abi who added it is heartbreaking to see so many children in need.
Perhaps the biggest fundraiser for the JCC is the annual JCC Ball.
She heads up a group of dynamic councillors who all come together to make a difference.
In addition to being the new junior mayor, Abi is also a member of the Eastern Province waterpolo team, a prefect at school and a national trialist for debating and still keeps up her marks to be one of the top 10 pupils at school.
She has plans to study for a BA in politics, philosophy and economics at Rhodes University.
She said there are currently 26 schools who have pupils that serve on the JCC with the hope of reaching more schools in the future.
As junior mayor, it is her job to ensure they keep up the great community work the JCC have been doing since its inception in 1957.
Abi’s mother, Diedre, said she is exceptionally proud of her and said she has an uncanny ability to motivate others.
Abi said she is incredibly busy but said the way to make time for school, friends and JCC is to not sweat the small.
“We need to make sure we have eight hours of work, eight hours of play and eight hours of sleep and we should be fine,” said the feisty red-head who has a smile to brighten up the room.