2020 VML “If I Were Mayor” Essay Contest
The Virginia Municipal League (VML) invites all eligible* Virginia 7th Graders to join its “If I were Mayor” essay contest.
Regional winners selected from around the state will each receive a $150 cash prize and plaque. One statewide winner chosen from the regional winners will receive a $250 cash prize and plaque. The runner-up from the region that receives the statewide award will become that region’s winner.
Winning essays will be featured in the May issue of VML’s magazine Virginia Town & City.
2020 Essay Contest
Being a mayor or community leader is a challenging but rewarding job. It’s challenging because you must balance the needs and requests of different people in your community who don’t always agree with each other. It’s rewarding because, along with your city or town council or county board, you get to be one of the people who ensures that the best solutions are used to address the problems that affect everyone.
VML wants to give you a chance to show what you would do to solve a problem in your community.
Here’s how it works:
- What’s the problem? If you were a community leader like a mayor, what’s a problem in your locality you would want to solve? If could be something big that affects the whole community or something small that affects only a few people. If you are having trouble thinking of something, ask an adult (teacher, parent, guardian, relative, friend) for ideas.
- Listen to “community” members: Tell three people (teachers, parents, relatives, classmates, friends, etc.) about the problem and ask what they think should be done to solve it. Write down their answers in your own words.
- Decide: Does one of the proposed solutions sound better than the others? Or, does some combination of the solutions make more sense? Or, do you think there is a better way that nobody else suggested? It’s up to you!
- Put it all together: Write a brief (200-500 words) essay in which you:
- Identify the problem.
- Summarize the ideas you heard to solve the problem.
- Offer your opinion of how best to solve the problem.
How to enter
All entries must be received by end of day on Friday, January 31st. There are 2 ways to submit your entry:
- Fill out and submit our online form available here.
- You can do this yourself or you can have your teacher or someone else help you.
- At the top of the form you will need to provide your full name, the name and location of your school, and your teacher’s full name and email address.
- Copy and paste your essay into the “Essay” box in the form.
- After VML receives your entry, your teacher will get a confirmation email.
VML, Attn: 7th Grade Essay Contest
P.O. Box 12164
Richmond, VA 23241
Rules & Regulations
- The contest is open to all Virginia students from VML member municipalities enrolled in the 7th Grade during the 2019-2020 school year.
- If you are not sure if you live or go to school in a member municipality, check the list of VML Local Government Members.
- All essays should be typed. Handwritten essays must be legible to be eligible for review.
- Only one essay may be submitted per student.
- Entries will be judged based on content and style.
- Essays must be submitted by the end of the day on Friday, January 31st. Winners will be notified in March. VML will present the awards to the winners at one of their local council or school board meetings.
- VML retains the right to publish essays along with the names of each student.
For more information, contact Rob Bullington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2019 “If I Were Mayor” Essay Contest winners
Statewide winner: Maci Mitchell of Hamilton Holmes Middle School in King William
Region 1: Virginia Elizabeth Stockner of E.B. Stanley Middle School in Abingdon
Region 2: Maria Angle of Clifton Middle School in Covington
Region 3: Kaitlyn Hull of Kate Collins Middle School in Waynesboro
Region 4: Sadie Henshaw of Kenston Forest Middle School in Blackstone
Region 5: Lily Konopka of Ronald Regan Middle School in Haymarket
Region 6: Haylee Burnett of Auburn Middle School in Warrenton
Region 7: Samera Blowe of James S. Russell Middle School in Lawrenceville
Region 8: Luz Pinto Consuelo of Academy for Discovery at Lakewood in Norfolk
2018 “If I Were Mayor” Essay Contest winners
Statewide winner: Jalia Hardy of Binford Middle School in Richmond (also Region 7 winner)Region 1: Bryleigh Middleton of Pennington Middle School in Pennington Gap
Region 2: Kaydence Addison of Dalton Intermediate School in Radford
Region 3: Will Schwantes of Daniel Morgan Middle School in Winchester
Region 4: Catherine Selfridge of Buckingham Middle School in Buckingham
Region 5: Gideon DeMarco of Lanier Middle School in Fairfax
Region 6: Maeve Myers of Louisa County Middle School in Mineral
Region 8: Tina Li of the Academy for Discovery at Lakewood in Norfolk
2017 “If I Were Mayor” Essay Contest winners
Statewide winner: Jerry (Trey) N. Mitchell III of Lawrenceville
Region 1: Dillon McReynolds of Abingdon
Region 2: Andrew Middleton of Covington
Region 3: Sadie Dryden of Buena Vista
Region 4: Skyla Rain of South Boston
Region 5: Liv Scappa of Falls Church
Region 6: Maha Laiq of Warrenton
Region 7: Jerry (Trey) N. Mitchell III of Lawrenceville (statewide winner)
Region 8: Terrence Massenburg of Portsmouth
2016 “If I Were Mayor” Essay Contest winners
Region 1: Sumer Grace Lloyd of Bristol
Region 2: Simran Kaur Gill of Salem
Region 3: Lily McClung of Fishersville (statewide winner)
Region 4: Grace Coover of Petersburg
Region 5: Evan Lankford of Falls Church
Region 6: Brynley Meadows of Culpeper
Region 7: Alexander Elstun of Chesterfield County
Region 8: Alyssa Levy of King William County
2015 “If I Were Mayor” Essay Contest winners
Region 1: Bailey Nash of Lee County
Region 2: Kendryek Wheeler of Roanoke
Region 3: Macalister Gordon of Winchester
Region 4: Garrett Love of Buckingham County
Region 5: Logan Kurtz of Manassas Park
Region 6: Adele Masson of Culpeper
Region 7: Na’Seem Hopson of Hopewell (statewide winner)
Region 8: Sophie Freiling of Williamsburg