For some, it was a morning tour of Bakersfield's hottest controversies. For others, it was a two-hour sitdown for a look into the thrilling world of municipal risk management.
In all, about 55 high school seniors from around Bakersfield got an up-close look at their city government Wednesday during Teen City Government Day.
"You're going to see things not everybody gets to see," Assistant City Manager John Stinson told the group.
And the students were able to see how the skills they're learning will translate to real-world jobs.
For Golden Valley High senior Chris Samarripas, that meant a look at the system that controls city traffic signals. "I think there's a lot of math involved," he said.
Miles Van Kopp spent the morning on a tour of the city's computer and financial departments, and saw it wasn't too different from the number-crunching projects he has done at Bakersfield High School using Microsoft Excel.
And many students spent their time seeing the jobs were all about people.
Travis Maytubby was part of a group that went on a tour of park sites with the Recreation and Parks Department. He said he learned about the balancing act of competing needs and limited resources.
"They showed us how they have to deal with a bunch of different people," he said.
A group that went with city planners saw the same thing, especially at the site of the planned Aera Park, where some neighboring residents are opposing the lighted baseball fields.
Stinson said city government touches the lives of all residents, beginning with the water they use to brush their teeth in the morning.
And he told students that city government has jobs to meet many interests. Take the Purchasing Department, he said -- a perfect place for people who love to shop.
"You haven't lived until you've bought something for $20 million," he joked.
The students, four each from 14 high schools, were the winners of awards from the city's Optimist Clubs. One student from each school accompanied a Bakersfield City Council member or senior city staff member at Wednesday night's council meeting.