Essay Contest Winners Take a Bow

April 26, 2012

2012 "If I Were Mayor, I Would..." winning essays (PDF, 102KB)
House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta) applauded the works of 12 sixth grade students for “solving all of Georgia’s problems in these 12 essays” as the keynote speaker at the awards luncheon for the “If I Were Mayor, I Would. . .” essay contest. Abrams went on to encourage the students to stay involved and ensure that their ideas were heard and acted upon.

“You all have great ideas and you’ve written those ideas down and you’ve turned them in. But you’re sitting at tables with mayors and with adults who have the ability to vote. Your job from here on out is make sure they know what you believe. You have to speak up,” said Abrams. “Speak up and don’t let us not listen.”

The winners of the 12th annual contest were lauded at a luncheon April 25 at the 755 Club in Atlanta. The winners were among more than 6,200 students who wrote an essay detailing what they would do if they were leaders in their cities. Many students wrote about cleaning up the environment, boosting the economy, finding homes for people and pets and bringing more entertainment and recreational opportunities to their cities.

The overall winner, Keera McDonald of Woodward Academy in College Park in District 3, wrote about increasing tourism to her city to increase tax revenue. She also said she would impose fines on banks that failed to maintain foreclosed properties and would hold monthly town hall meetings to hear from residents.

“Above all, I believe that the key to building a strong foundation for making a town a better place to live starts with making sure its citizens lead secure and comfortable lives,” she wrote.

Other winners of the contest were:
  • Lexie Bailey of Summerville Middle School, District 1;
  • Madison Glattli of Union County Middle School, District 2;
  • Lela Manis of West Side Magnet School in LaGrange, District 4;
  • Joshua Fouche of Commerce Middle School, District 5;
  • Tucker Bryant of Mossy Creek Middle School in Perry, District 6;
  • Blair Thompson of the Brentwood School in Sandersville, District 7;
  • Janie Johnson of Blackmon Road Middle School in Columbus, District 8;
  • Kelsey Denmark of Toombs County Middle School, District 9;
  • Logan DeVane of Thomasville City Scholars Academy, District 10;
  • Lindsey Westberry of Lanier County Middle School, District 11; and
  • Emily Barnard of Bulloch Middle School, District 12.
Each winner received $250 and other prizes, with McDonald receiving an additional $250 as the overall winner.

“City officials can learn so much from these sixth graders,” said GMA Executive Director Lamar Norton. “They have amazing insight into their communities and they are telling us what’s important to them now and in the future.”