On Thursday, the Orange County Administration Building was filled with children. The reason for that was Take Our Children to Work Day, and to educate the children, the county held a mock rezoning hearing in the County Commission Chambers.

It was reminiscent of a normal County Commission meeting, but in the seats of every commissioner there was instead a young child.

The mock hearing – a simulated rezoning hearing for a fake baseball field proposed to come to International Drive – was a lighthearted affair and both the children and the families watching had fun.

A line of other children got up to simulate a public comments portion of the hearing. One boy said he was for the proposal because he was “excited to see some of his favorite baseball teams, and it would be pretty fun.”

A girl said she was against the proposal because “cars might park in the driveway and lock [her] in her house.”

Tyler Pankey, who portrayed one of the young commissioners, said after the show that he enjoyed the experience.

“I got to say ‘no’ to stuff and people actually listened,” he said. He added that one thing he learned was that there were six districts and “each one has its own opinion” when it comes to voting for things.

Sarah Glasser, who played another young commissioner, said she thought the event was “really funny.” But she also added that she now saw the difficulties of being a county commissioner, too.

“I enjoyed it,” she said. “But being a commissioner is really nerve-racking. There were a lot of people coming up and talking. I just went with it.”

Adrian Kierulf, a special assistant to Mayor Teresa Jacobs, said they’ve had a Take Our Children to Work Day event for over a decade, but this was only the second time they had done a mock hearing.

“We wanted to inspire kids to dream big,” he said. “If they work hard, they can be whatever they want. If they see mom and dad at work, it could inspire them to a career when they get older. It’s a great opportunity.”

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