Austin’s innovative program, “City Within a City,” is a mock society and cross-curricular project for students at Southern Heights Elementary School. The focus of the program is to provide students with a hands-on learning experience about the way a city runs. The school-wide project will involve parents, community leaders, teachers and students. Students in the fourth and fifth grades will serve as the law makers, city workers, politicians, bankers and business and property owners. They will set up the mock city without adult help and elect their officials, apply for jobs and work. Third-grade students will provide goods and services while students in Kindergarten through second-grade will serve as the consumers and will earn money to spend. Students will also take a field trip to see how a bank is run as well as shop for needed supplies for their different businesses. The project will take place for approximately nine weeks and will culminate with a school-wide market day where the older students will set up businesses and sell their products. Austin, who lives in Hobbs, hopes the students will learn real-world connections and gain an idea of how working people thrive in the world.