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The original item was published from 2/28/2023 1:21:00 PM to 2/28/2023 1:23:53 PM.

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Posted on: February 28, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Residents graduate from 2023 Citizens Academy, earn recognition

Group photo of five people. The three in the middle hold certificates.

PHOTO: 2023 Citizens Academy graduates who have also completed the Civilian Police Academy and the Civilian Responder Program received the Distinguished Citizen Award during the 2023 Citizens Academy graduation ceremony Feb. 23 at the Victoria College Emerging Technology Complex. Shown from left are Communications & Public Affairs Director Ashley Strevel; Distinguished Citizens David “Doc” Peters, Jodi Schaefer and Deborah Breeden; and Mayor Jeff Bauknight.

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.

Ashley Strevel“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

To view photos from the 2023 Citizens Academy, click here.

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