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By Billy Rudolph

What is Tiger Shark City? Tiger Shark City is the only MicroSociety on Galveston Island and exists within the walls of Rosenberg Elementary School. The national educational model provides compelling real-life learning opportunities for young people to develop into leaders, entrepreneurs, creative forces and confident citizens. 

“The city has to have things like peace officers, a post office, and a bank where they each have a bank account. We even have our own currency,” explains MicoSociety Coordinator Veronica Arneson. “Everybody has a role. We have a job fair and a job application process complete with interviews.”

All students spend 45 minutes a day in Ms. Arneson’s MicroSociety classroom. They begin the year by learning ‘What is a Community?’ and recently they held elections for the offices of mayor, peace officer captain, and grade level representatives which comprise the city council. Just like in the real world, the candidates for local offices were out on the campaign trail in November. 

“I want the voters to know that I am nice, kind, and respectful,” says Fourth Grade Mayoral Candidate Leo’Ray Sanchez. “I think I will be good at it and I’ll be able to explain how our city works to others that come to our school.”

“I want to help people and help them learn and help the little kids. I want to see what is around the school that I can fix,” announces Peace Officer Captain Candidate Qu’Rinn Washington who is also in fourth grade.

Neither Leo’Ray nor Qu’Rinn won their elections, but this society mimics the real world, so their journey isn’t over. They have to accept defeat and move on to be successful elsewhere.

“Part of it is to let them fail. We want to see how they come back and try again when it doesn’t work out. We don’t learn unless we fail sometimes,” teaches Arneson. “They get bills and they have to pay rent so they have to figure it out. Some business owners apply for loans with the bank that they have to pay it back by the end of the year.”

“Tiger Shark City is just practice for the real world. If I don’t get elected then I will accept it and try to find another job,” said Washington before the election. “Last year I worked for ‘Masks R Us.’ I sold masks.” 

Sanchez agrees and adds, “I think what I will learn is that basically this is pretty much like the real world and it will help me when I apply for a job in real life.”

Swearing-in day came in December and the City of Galveston's real-life Council Member Sharon Lewis officiated the ceremony. Winners of the elections were:

Mayor – Alexa Rincon 
Peace Captain – Natalia Perez
Pre-K Representative – Mila Pena
Kindergarten Representative – Dahlia Derryberry
1st Grade Representative – Aurora Houston
2nd Grade Representative – Lola Scott
3rd Grade Representative – Chance Nolan Feaster
4th Grade Representative – London King

“We want this whole experience to teach basic life skills,” encourages Arneson. “A lot of our kids have not seen real world scenarios that involve problem solving.”

“It helps me to learn about how jobs work and how to interact with other people and how they act,” claims Washington. “I learned that some people can be different and we can learn from one another.”

“I want to see Tiger Shark City remain a good community,” says Sanchez. “No cursing, no bad things, and for everybody to be happy and to make their own choices, be equal, and have a good life.”

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