The City of Victoria Communications & Public Affairs on Feb. 23 hosted the final session of the 2023 Citizens Academy at the Victoria College Emerging Technology Complex.

During the five-week program, leaders from various City departments and partner organizations taught participants about their local government. Participants also had the option of attending tours of the Victoria Office of Emergency Management, the Victoria Fire Department fire drill field and the Victoria Surface Water Treatment Plant.

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“Our goal is to create an impactful environment where residents not only learn but engage in two-way dialogue with the decision-makers who strive to enhance the livability of our community,” said Communications & Public Affairs Director Ashley Strevel. “And, from here on out, I’m hopeful that our participants will use the many communication tools we make available to them to stay informed and share it with others.”

At the Feb. 23 session, participants heard the program’s final presentations, including how to stay informed and serve on local boards and commissions, and participated in a question-and-answer panel with members of the City Council.

After the panel, residents participated in a graduation ceremony and received certificates acknowledging their participation in Citizens Academy.

In addition, Deborah Breeden, David “Doc” Peters and Jodi Schaefer received the Distinguished Citizen Award for their completion of Citizens Academy, the Civilian Responder Program and the Civilian Police Academy. They will be formally recognized at a City Council meeting in the fall along with other residents who have completed all three programs.

The 2023 Civilian Responder Program will be hosted by the Victoria Fire Department on Mondays, 6-9 p.m., Sept. 4, 11 and 18 and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 23. For more information, visit or contact the Victoria Fire Department Training Division at 361-485-3470 or

To learn more about Communications & Public Affairs and where to get information about the City of Victoria, visit

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