by Lisa Tome
If not for her teacher, Savannah Bennett would not have met Governor Larry Hogan.
When the "If I Were Mayor" essay contest was announced, it was supposed to be optional. Instead, Bennett's teacher Patty Butt, decided it would be mandatory.
"Our teacher used it as a writing grade," said Bennett, a fourth grader at Charlestown Elementary School.
Bennett was named the winner of the Maryland Municipal League's "If I Were Mayor" contest for District 10. That means her essay was the best of all those submitted in Harford and Cecil counties.
Bennett's win earned her the right to be mayor last week during Charlestown's town meeting.
"The meeting was hilarious. A lady was complaining about ducks going in her pool. I said 'you're all acting like kindergartners'," said Bennett.
Bennett's essay also earned her a trip to Annapolis. She met the Governor, collected a certificate, cash prize, plaque, took a boat cruise, and toured the capital. "It was very exciting meeting the governor. It felt like I was on the news," Bennett said. Bennett is the daughter of Lee Bennett and Carolyn Lewis of Carpenters Point. She is an honor student and hopes to be a pediatrician in the future.
Dr. Robert Gell, a member of the Charlestown board met with Bennett at the school on Wednesday. "She is a great representative of the town and the school," said Dr. Gell. The town presented her with a gift card and certificate. There will be an additional announcement of winners of this contest on the school level.
Her winning essay:
"If I were Mayor, I would promote the positive reasons for building a playground in the community. I would do this at the Town Hall meeting where everyone would be invited to give their opinion and ask questions. I would listen to the reasons why people may be against the idea. For example, maybe they are upset because it would be too noisy. Once I know why people are against it, I could work out a solution to at least make some people happy and more agreeable.
First, I would ask people to think of the benefits a playground would give the people of our town. The kids would have a safe place to play and it would get the kids to play outside more instead of being inside playing video games all the time.
I would remind the citizens and elected officials that they are role models for the children in the community. They have a responsibility as leaders and parents to be fair and show kindness to each other, especially when young people are around to teach them how they handle not getting what they want.
To get the people in the town to support the new playground, I would ask them to think of the children who will now have a place to play and all the fun they would have playing on the playground. I would encourage all those who disagree with the decision about the playground to try and be supportive of the reasons behind the decision."