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Mayor's Notebook: It's all about the kids

This fall, the League of Minnesota Cities sponsored an essay contest titled "If I Were Mayor for a Day" for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders. I sent the information over to the Crosslake Community School asking them to participate.

Nine students in Ms. Veit's language arts class wrote an essay on the topic. Several of them were submitted to the League of Minnesota Cities contest.

At our November council meeting, four of the students were invited to read their essays, and at our December council meeting, three more read their essays. On Jan. 8, we will hear the last two essay participants at our council meeting. For their participation, each student received a "Friend of the City" certificate for excellence in academics and a gift certificate to Dairy Queen.

It was so fun and rewarding to give these students an opportunity to stand up in front of a crowd and read their essays. After handing out their gifts, I would end by saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, here are your next generation of leaders" and indeed they are! It was also gratifying to see the audience, which included moms and dads, be so supportive and enthusiastic for these young people.

So, I want to recognize our participants: Noah Paulson, Brooke Givens, Izabella Hansen, Wyatt Brown, Austin Ballis, Taylor Max, Emma Schott, Elizabeth Berglund and Jayda Anderson. Taylor Max also received an honorable mention from the League of Minnesota Cities contest for the essay she submitted to the contest.

Our future is in the hands of students like those who wrote essays, and we must be absolutely committed to providing them the skills and education needed to fulfill their dreams and aspirations. And it is up to us to give them hope, provide them with opportunities and to even clothe and feed them if necessary. Education doesn't begin and end in the four walls of a school; it happens 24 hours a day whether at home, at school, at work or at play.

We are a wealthy community in many ways; however, we have children who come to school without breakfast and go to bed at night hungry. This is unacceptable in Crosslake. And during this holiday season when our grandchildren are opening many gifts, we still have kids in Crosslake who wake up to few or none at all. To be sure, generous people have donated money and toys for those who are not so fortunate; however, it can't stop there. This is a 12-month investment that we must make in our kids and for the future of our country.

Therefore, at our January council meeting, the Crosslake Community School will be asking the council to pass a resolution commemorating School Choice Week, Jan. 21-17, 2018, recognizing that:

• Crosslake children should have access to the highest quality education possible.

• Crosslake recognizes the important role that an effective education plays in preparing all students in Crosslake to be successful adults.

• Quality education is critically important to the economic vitality of Crosslake.

• Crosslake is home to a multitude of excellent education options from which parents can choose for their children.

• Educational variety not only helps to diversify our economy but also enhances the vibrancy of our community.

• Crosslake has many high quality teaching professionals who are committed to educating our children.

So, at this special time of year as we celebrate with our families and friends, give thought to ways that we as a community can make a difference in the life of a kid.

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Healthy New Year!

This article reflects my personal perspectives and opinions and does NOT necessarily speak for the council as a whole. So if you have questions or concerns with anything said here, stop in at city hall Wednesdays from 12:30-4:30 p.m. for a cup of coffee or just to chat. I will be out of the office Dec. 28!