That’s at least the case for Holy Redeemer School student Ella Lannon, who was recently named a regional winner of the Maryland Municipal League's 12th “If I were Mayor” essay contest. Her essay highlighted improvements that she’d like to see in College Park—new environmental programs, recreational facilities, and crime and pedestrian safety measures.
“Some ways to increase pedestrian safety are to have more sidewalks and walking paths and put in more crosswalks,” the Berwyn Heights resident wrote in her winning entry.
Lannon’s mother, Karen Lannon, said her 9-year-old daughter is very observant of her surroundings, but still, she was surprised—“that she knew about these different issues and that she really considered them,” she said.
The younger Lannon is unsure if she'll actually pursue the opportunity to help institute such programs as mayor of College Park someday, or anywhere else.
“I have no clue right now … I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up,” she said.
More than 2,000 students submitted essays for this year's contest, with a theme of "Meeting the Challenge."
Lannon was among five semi-finalists in District 9, which includes all of Prince George's County: Donte Ligon, Paint Branch Elementary; Seefat Meah, Hollywood Elementary; and Wayne S. Edmonds Jr. and Joshua L. Malsawma, both of Berwyn Christian School.
The contest is intended to teach students the important role of mayor, according to Scott A. Hancock, executive director of the Maryland Municipal League.
“It gives students from all over Maryland the chance to not only share their creative ideas as mayor, but also to learn more about the importance of municipalities, while hopefully inspiring them to become our next generation of local leaders," he said, according to an MML press statement.
The contest was sponsored by the Maryland Municipal League, in partnership with the Maryland Mayors’ Association, Local Government Insurance Trust, and Injured Workers’ Insurance Fund. Essays were judged based on: essay relation to contest topic; displayed knowledge about municipal government and the role of a mayor; creativity; and proper use of grammar.
This article is an updated version of a story that ran on April 25 on Patch.