Back to the Mar-Apr 2023 issue

2022 Mayor for a Day Essay Contest Winners

Students from the cities of Edina, Glencoe, La Crescent, and Medina were selected as winners of the 2022 Mayor for a Day Essay Contest. In addition, judges selected four honorable mention essayists from the cities of Elk River, Inver Grove Heights, La Crescent, and Pierz. The League of Minnesota Cities received 560 essays from all around the state, the highest number of entries in the program’s history.

About the contest

The LMC Mayor for a Day Essay Contest began in 2013 and continues to invite fourth, fifth, and sixth graders to share how they would make their communities even better places to live. In addition to having their essays published here, winners receive a plaque and a check for $100. Honorable mention students receive a certificate of recognition, and excerpts from their essays appear here. Some cities where the winning students reside also will arrange for recognition and city council meetings and other public events.

City officials throughout the state supported the Mayor for a Day program by promoting it at their local schools, which resulted in entire classes participating in the contest. Additionally, some students submitted entries independently. The top entries included mentions of recurring themes like health and safety, the environment, senior care, homelessness, and basic city services, among others. Essay finalists were judged by Bemidji Council Member and League President Ron Johnson and League Executive Director Dave Unmacht.

Hadley AasnessHadley Aasness
6th Grade

If I were mayor for a day in my town, Medina, I would focus on helping senior citizens. I have a friend who is 104 years old named Mrs. Sharpe. She tells me how she gets lonely and how much she loves my visits. I imagine other seniors get lonely too. I would like to help seniors by connecting them with kids. If we follow through on this idea, our seniors would feel happier.

When I visit Mrs. Sharpe, we like to talk about our day, listen to old songs, eat treats, and read her emails. I know my visits bring her joy because she smiles, laughs, and makes jokes. I think we can bring that kind of joy to other seniors by matching them with kids in our community who have similar interests.

If I was mayor for a day, I would set up a buddy system for kids and seniors. I would set up sign-up sheets and post them around town. I would visit senior citizens and ask them what they like so that kids can find someone who has similar interests. For example, if there was a senior citizen that was a baseball player, or loves the Twins, a boy that likes baseball would be the perfect match. The seniors love to hear from kids about their lives and their interests, such as their favorite sports. They would also love to tell the kids about their own experiences. I think this would be great for the kids and the senior citizens. The kids’ friendship with the seniors could benefit the kids’ social skills and help them learn about the past.

If we follow through on this idea as a community, our seniors will feel a lot of love and be happier. I hope you will consider finding a senior buddy.

Katherine VeglahnKatherine Veglahn
6th Grade

If I were mayor of La Crescent for a day, I would like to improve the ambulance services we have available in our town. In La Crescent, we have police, firefighters, and first responders but no ambulances available to us. I would make ambulance accessible in case of serious emergencies. Right now, if someone got injured in La Crescent the first responders would come, but they would have to wait for an ambulance to arrive and that could take a lot of time if they are coming from surrounding areas. I have been thinking about places where we could park the ambulances. We could park them by Subway or past the pool.

Along with a location to place the ambulances we also need workers and a building. This could be a good thing because there are tons of people in La Crescent who have nurse training that are unemployed, which could provide opportunities to the unemployed. We could also have small businesses in La Crescent help build the building, which not only would help our community but could also expand their small business.

I think this will help our city grow and thrive. With these new ambulances, it will better protect the people of La Crescent and create a safer environment to live in.

Avianna FettigAvianna Fettig
5th Grade

Sometimes when people think about kids being mayor, they think about us making silly laws, doing silly things, and not taking it seriously. But I think most kids wouldn’t do that. We are constantly told that we are the future, but some things can’t wait until we’re older.

If I were mayor for a day, my town would change for the better. First, I would give love and support to the homeless. I would put a reasonable amount of taxes toward funding homeless shelters and make new, cheap buildings in forgotten areas, like old parking lots, for people who had experienced homelessness.

Minnesota is a beautiful place to live, and I would show that we need to take care of it. I would hold annual clean-up days to pick up litter in parks and other public areas. Schools would also be encouraged to keep their grounds clean. One other thing I would be sure to do is for all families to have the ability to recycle and compost their waste, as it will help keep trash out of landfills.

My other act as mayor would be to make a small museum. It would be mainly focused around the people of my town, of the past, and the present. From families like Yancey’s, one of the first African-American families to live in my town, to clubs like the Anti-Racist Collective that speak out against hate in our community, I would make sure to show all the different aspects of my town.

I would also recognize many of the town workers, including police officers, firefighters, librarians, and public school staff. This would be a great place for kids to learn about our town and the people who are making it better every day. I would do as much as I could to make my town a better place. I would always try to show how blessed we are to live in our town and how we could make it a better place. I would also listen to others’ ideas and opinions. As Malcolm Forbes once said, “Diversity is the art of thinking independently together.”

Kaden StrobelKaden Strobel
4th Grade

I would buy new books for the school library so kids have new books to read. I would build new stores so people do not have to go to a different town to get some things. I would also build new businesses so people can have more jobs and make more money. I would like to build a splash pad and have skate parks so the kids have more fun activities to do. It is more important to add these services so your town grows and improves things for people who live in Glencoe. These services will also bring people to our town which means more money for businesses and the town.

These are my plans if I become mayor for a day. I know they would take longer than one day to achieve, but we could get them started to make our town even better. I wouldn’t be sad because it’s fun to be mayor.


Ashley AragonAshley Aragon
6th Grade

Excerpt from Ashley’s essay: I would start a homeless shelter. The reason why I chose to create this service is because I want to have a place where people can stay safe, be cozy, and feel welcomed like any other person.

Lauren NilsenLauren Nilsen
5th Grade

Excerpt from Lauren’s essay: I would create an Evergreen Club, planting flowers and vegetables around the town … I would also suggest making the Pierz Library open longer. People would be able to read books for longer, and read after school and after work.

Maria RiesMaria Ries
4th Grade

Excerpt from Maria’s essay: As mayor for the day, I would start by sharing reasons I love my town. I’d put up posters around town expressing reasons why our town is amazing. I’d thank a helpful librarian, compliment our ice cream shop, and name my favorite hiking trail through the woods.

Liv SmallLiv Small
6th Grade

Excerpt from Liv’s essay: One thing I would do to improve our public transportation services in La Crescent would be adding more stops to the bus route … By adding more stops in accessible areas, we increase the chances of people using the resources our community has to offer.