ANNA MARIA – High school graduate and lifelong Anna Maria resident Augustus “Gus” Bayard is spending his summer working as an intern for the city of Anna Maria.
On June 11, his second day on the job, Bayard attended his first city commission meeting and was introduced to the city commissioners. That day, the commission engaged in a lengthy discussion about the city’s amended sign ordinance. The commission also discussed parking issues, planning for the 2020 Bayfest events and several matters pertaining to the new City Pier.
Afterwards, Bayard was asked what he thought of his first commission meeting.
“It was a bit longer than I expected, but it was interesting, and stuff got done. It was nice to see politics in action, up close,” he said.
“We’re very pleased that Augustus has decided to come work here as an intern. He’s got all the talent needed to work in a public environment,” Mayor Dan Murphy said after the meeting.
“He’s been helping us out immensely in the administration office,” Deputy Clerk Debbie Haynes added. “He’s been doing a little bit of everything. We definitely needed his assistance and he’s been great.”
Bayard secured the internship through his own initiative.
“I sent an email to the mayor saying I was a high school graduate who lived here all my life and I was interested in interning this summer – helping out and seeing how the local political process works. I have a lot of free time this summer before I go to college and I wanted to begin thinking about the things I want to study. I wanted to get some real-life experience, including with the COVID-19 situation at the local level,” Bayard explained.
The 18-year-old was asked what it’s like to be a member of the class of 2020 that graduated in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s definitely been a weird couple of months. Instead of one big day where it felt like I went from a high schooler to a graduate, it’s been much more of a gradual thing. Luckily, my school, Saint Stephen’s, had a drive-thru graduation ceremony,” said Bayard, the son of Dave and Amy Bayard.
“I was actually born and raised on the Island. I was a home-birth, so I was literally born on the Island, in Anna Maria,” he said.
After the July 2 commission meeting, Bayard was asked how things were going and what he’s learned so far.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work with vacation rentals, which emphasizes how big of a part of the city that is. It’s been a great way to learn more about government and it’s something to do before I go to college,” he said.
Bayard anticipates serving as a city intern until mid-August. He hopes to then head off to college to begin earning a degree in international and public affairs at Brown University in Providence, R.I.
“It’s a combination of international affairs and public policy,” he said of his desired field of study.
Bayard hopes his college studies lead to a career as a United States diplomat.
“I’ve always been interested in traveling. The combination of traveling, seeing the world, public service and government work does appeal to me and it sounds really interesting. Neighbors of mine just retired from the State Department and I’ve had some interesting conversations with them about State Department work and diplomacy,” he said.