By Melissa Wagoner
As Mayor Kyle Palmer reads through each year’s submissions to the annual, “If I Were Mayor…” contest, he is always surprised by the altruistic sentiments expressed by the contestants, ranging from fourth through eighth grade students.
“You might think that a young person, here and there may say they would use this job to benefit themselves personally in some way, like building a huge pool in their own yard, creating a lane on our streets for their use only… but that is never, ever, the case,” he said.
This year was no exception with the winning ideas ranging from “creating a more centrally located town square,” as suggested by elementary-aged winner Tilly Adamson of Mark Twain Elementary School, to adding more “places where youth can have clubs and activities,” as proposed by middle school winner Addison Krueger of Scotts Mills Elementary.
“It’s comforting to me to know that there are so many young people who may one day move from writing and drawing about what they might do if they were mayor, to sharing with us what they are doing as mayor,” Palmer said.
Many of the changes proposed by the students were entirely feasible, like the implementation of a citywide recycling program for cans and bottles, the creation of an animal shelter for lost pets, or increased assistance for the unhoused.
“Engaging with our area youth, and especially seeing their awareness and insight related to the issues that cities face, is by far my favorite part of being mayor,” Palmer admitted.
And it might be future Mayor Krueger’s favorite part as well – as her essay points out, “Being a mayor is a very important yet fun job. You want the people in your town to love who you are and what you want to do for the town. But you also have to know the people and know what they want.”
2022 If I Were Mayor… contest winners
Poster Contest (Grades 4/5)
• First place: Tilly Adamson, Mark Twain Elementary School
• Second: Joey Boatner, Bethany Charter School
• Third: Amiah Santos, Bethany Charter School
Essay Contest (Grades 6 to 8)
• First: Addison Krueger, Scotts Mills Elementary School
• Second: Mylee Clevenger, Scotts Mills Elementary School
• Third: Elissa Watson, Scotts Mills Elementary School
• Honorable Mention: Aspen Etzel, Scotts Mills Elementary School