Community: High school girls shadow city officials

Girls attending Holy Family High School spent a recent morning at Glendale City Hall hearing about career opportunities, meeting city officials and representatives of various departments and asking questions.

Stephen Nersesyan, human resources analyst II, emphasized the importance of getting a good education.

“We stressed that when they are deciding on a career the sky's the limit. They can do whatever they want to do,” he said. “We talked about careers in city government and opportunities with the city of Glendale. It's a wonderful place to work and live.”

One student asked Nersesyan why he chose to work in Glendale and another student asked what courses he took for his associate’s, bachelor's and master's degrees.

Mayor Dave Weaver and Councilman Zareh J. Sinanyan talked about getting elected and what it's like to serve as a public official.

A job shadow day exposes students to possible career options they might not have considered in public service and lets them know that working in government doesn't necessarily mean one has to be interested in politics, said City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian.

“There are many career options whether it be engineering, urban planning, finance, a legal career that relates to government that they could consider, even public health, so that's important that they have more than just a few options that are open to them as they consider colleges to apply to,” he said.

As Holy Family is an all-girls school, a job shadow day like this lets them know that more women are needed in government and positions of leadership.

“We want to see women as department heads, council members and mayors, that shows the ethnic diversity and gender equality that a community like Glendale deserves and expects,” Kassakhian said.

City Manager Scott Ochoa and several city officials came back to Holy Family for lunch while listening to the jazz band conducted by Greg Ziomek, department chair of the visual and performing arts department. Then Principal Nancy O'Sullivan presented a plaque to Councilman Sinanyan.

The amount of time city officials give to the city was one of the things that surprised Julyanna Mendez, president of the Associated Student Body of Holy Family.

“It's inspiring how supportive they can be,” she said. “Another thing that surprised me is they are not all from top Ivy League universities.”

The event taught her about the different departments, and she said she thought it was amazing how they have separate people in charge of separate things but they all work together toward a common goal — keeping the city functioning.

If she worked for the city, she said she would want to work in public policy.

“I really want to help unfortunate people get off the streets, and I really liked what they said that when you are on City Council you are working and interacting with the people and I never thought of it that way,” she said, adding that serving on the City Council would be something she would consider in the future.


JOYCE RUDOLPH can be contacted at

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World