It is not an easy task being a little leader of a big city, yet it is quite possible.
Grade 10 student Matthew Jose Hernaez Estenzo shows it is a challenge one can surpass when he participated in the annual Student Leader’s Summit as current president of Sangguniang Sentral ng mga Mag-aaral (SSM).
Estenzo emerged from the gathering with an honorable new title: the Supreme Student Government (SSG) Federation Little City Mayor.
Representing the University of San Carlos-North Campus (USC-NC), Estenzo joined 123 other SSG/SSC presidents who gathered at Crown Regency Residences in Cebu City recently for the summit.
The participants came from various institutions — public and private, junior and senior high schools — yet they all have the same purpose that is to serve others. It goes to show that status and background do not determine leadership, and that leaders can be found anywhere, even in the youth.
After the summit, the student leaders elected from among themselves who will sit as counterparts to city officials and some department and office heads, and experience how government leaders work.
It gave them an excellent way to gain a deeper understanding of the processes and protocols which public servants follow, as they did in electing Estenzo as Little City Mayor of the Cebu City Government for five days.
As part of the “Know Your City Government Program” of the Cebu City Youth Office, Estenzo assumed as chief executive, taking his post literally on the chair of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña.
Councilor Dave Tumulak reported to him as figurative mayor when he presented a jail escapee to the media, an especially vivid experience for the Little City Mayor.
“I feel honored to be in the position of our dearest Mayor Tomas Osmeña and I got to see how it is like to be a father of a city. I felt the magnanimous responsibility of a mayor and how he handles these on everyday basis,” Estenzo said.
“I am thankful for this opportunity given by the Cebu City Youth Office and how this will leave a great impact to me as a leader,” he added.
He began as an SSM board member in grades 1 to 4, became Grade School (GS) Vice Governor, then GS Governor, Grade 7 Governor, Auditor, and now the Little City Mayor and SSM president for school year 2017–2018.
He is a member of the Barangay Guadalupe Task Force on Youth Development and is the General High School Focal Person of Cebu City Local Youth Development Council. He also received the prestigious St. Joseph Freinademetz Leadership award.