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If I Were Mayor ...

Fourth-Grader Teresa Pelli shows prize-winning political instincts

“If I were mayor, I would ...”    
    Build sidewalks, wrote Broadneck Elementary fourth-grader Teresa Pelli, beating fourth-graders from all over the state to win Maryland Municipal League’s 11th annual “If I were mayor, I would ...” essay contest.
    “I thought of sidewalks right away because we can’t walk to school,” Pelli said. “We have to take the bus.”
    Fourth-graders submitted more than 3,000 essays, with the league picking one winner for each of Maryland’s 11 municipal districts. Pelli beat out students from Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties.
    The essay asked students to think of ways to improve their cities, how to encourage citizens to help with the improvements and how they would recognize these citizens.
    The contest fit right into the school’s curriculum.
    “In social studies class we’ve been learning about government and municipalities,” Pelli said.
    She used ideas she learned in social studies and explored the Internet to come up with other ideas.
    Teresa also suggested building more parks where people can play sports and creating a website to track citizens’ volunteer work.
    As mayor, Pelli would make sure her citizens’ good deeds do not go unnoticed.
    “I would have an awards ceremony” for volunteers, she said.
    Pelli’s thoughts on how to improve her community were spot on. County Executive John R. Leopold said sidewalk construction and repair were on people’s minds when he campaigned.
    “Especially when I was going door to door in 2009, the most requested improvement was sidewalk repair,” Leopold said.
    Leopold is also in line with Teresa on the issue of creating more parks for sports.
    “One of the things I’m most proud of is getting turf fields in all the county high schools,” Leopold said. Athletic teams in the high schools’ surrounding area use these fields.
    Recognizing people who help improve their community is important to Leopold, not just to thank them but also to encourage volunteering because it saves the taxpayers money.
    Pelli attended an awards ceremony of her own on May 20, at the State House.
    In the Governor’s Reception room, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown presented all 11 winners with certificates. Each also got a cash prize of $100.
    “I’m going to save it for a while,” Pelli said.