Dayton’s Bluff fifth-grader wins state-wide essay contest

submitted graphic • Rachel Jeong, a Dayton’s Bluff resident, is one of three winners of a state-wide essay contest run by the League of Minnesota Cities. Students were asked how they would show that local governments are good places to work if they were mayor of a city for a day.

Rachel Jeong, a fifth-grader who lives in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood, is one of three winners of the League of Minnesota Cities “Mayor for a Day” essay contest.

The 2017 prompt students were given said, “People who work for city governments plow snow, balance budgets, run libraries, design safe streets and buildings, take care of parks and playgrounds, fight fire, enforce laws, keep drinking water clean, and more. If you were mayor for a day, what would you do to show people that local governments are good places to work?”

The League received more than 400 essays from fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders from across the state.

Danielle Cabot, spokesperson for the League of Minnesota Cities, said the judges loved Jeong’s essay for many reasons. 

In her essay, Jeong wrote about connecting with residents in a variety of ways, and how important it is to get out and meet residents. 

“She really seemed to understand that [the city] needs to get out there,” Cabot said. 

Another thing that stood out to judges, said Cabot, was Jeong’s description of people serving in city government because they like helping others and making a difference in the community. 

“Rachel really gets that concept,” she said. 

Jeong, along with the two other winners — Alicia Jendro, a fifth-grader from Lauderdale, and Sebastian Cerda, a fifth-grader from Maple Grove — will receive a plaque and a check for $100. 

Jeong said she wrote the essay as an assignment for class, but decided to enter it “because it was a chance to show my gratitude towards the local government.”

In addition, Jeong said that someday she would be interested to work for a city “because I can use my imagination to help the mayor/local government keep the city a joyful, healthy and clean place.”

Cabot said The League of Minnesota Cities has been holding the contest since 2013 with a variety of writing prompts about cities and common projects cities work on, like mobility or parks and recreation programming.

She said in the past year the League has had an emphasis on promoting city careers and jobs because they “may be overlooked.”

She said the essay contest was a great opportunity to get students thinking about possible careers, as one of the goals of the League is “focusing on developing future leaders.”

“It’s really a great opportunity to talk to kids about the values and benefits of thinking about city careers,” Cabot said.


– Marjorie Otto can be reached at 651-748-7816 or at Follow her on Twitter at @EastSideM_Otto

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