Pelican kids write essays on being ‘Mayor for a Day’

By Brent Frazier, mayor City of Pelican Rapids 

Mayor Brent Frazier with Pelican Rapids Elementary School essay winners Sarah Haugrud, Jaylyn Wolf and Miren Thomas.

If you had the opportunity to change or add different features and amenities to your community, how would you respond?  What would be your list of priority projects?  

If financial limits knew no bounds, would that factor enter into your selection process for such amenities and projects?

So would your project be beneficial to a select few or the community as a whole?

All interesting questions when determining your project and the scoping process to envision that project becoming a reality.

If this scenario was presented to a group of 10 people, we would probably see 7 different conclusions.  All end results important to the person who was conducting the determining, but probably not that important to all respondents.

Recently the League of Minnesota Cities promoted an essay contest to 4th, 5th and 6th grade elementary students throughout our state.  The title of the essay contest was “If I were Mayor for a Day.”  The winning essays from each grade would then receive a prize of $100.

Essays needed to be the original work of each student and they needed to answer the following question…..Cities provide a variety of services and programs that make our lives better, including parks & recreation, street maintenance, water and sewer, libraries, police, fire, and more!  If you were mayor for a day, what would you do to make one of the services that your city provides even better?

Our 4th, 5th and 6th grade students at Viking Elementary School in Pelican Rapids again decided to participate in this essay contest as they have done for several years in the past, and it became a difficult to select only one winner from each grade.  Although we did not have a statewide winning entry, the essays authored by these fine and future leaders were great!

Winners at Viking Elementary School are, Miren Thomas in 4th grade, Jaylyn Wolf in 5th grade and Sarah Haugrud in 6th grade.  Congratulations to these students! 

These proposed projects that came forth from these future mayors were wonderful.  Please remember that each idea is important and no idea should be discounted as it can become a seed that is planted, watered, nourished and then come to fruit.

Ideas of proposed projects included building homes for the poor, larger health care facilities, more trash control and recycling, more animal control and shelter, larger community garden, hockey rink and sporting sites, drive-in movie theatre and doggie park.  

A few projects that seemed to rise to the top of the priority list (although this may not have been the project for the winning entries from Viking Elementary School) was that of a bigger and better swimming pool, water park, better crosswalks, more sidewalks, bicycle lanes and bicycle rental.

It should be noted that the topics of swimming pool, cross walks and bicycle lanes are currently topics that committees of our community are currently involved with in the Swimming Pool Committee and the Pelican Rapids Complete Streets Concept Project Committee.

Yes, the ideas of elementary aged students are sometimes ideas that are equal to that of an adult.  It is these young students that will one day become our engineers, teachers, shop owners, doctors, lawyers, agriculture & food scientists, computer programmers and elected officials. 

Thank you students for your ideas to help make the services and programs of Pelican Rapids much better for the future…


Jaylyn Wolf, 5th Grade

If I were mayor for a day, I would make the park better by cleaning it up by: picking up garbage so people didn’t get hurt on the garbage and making sure that there was no sharp edges on the playground so people would not get hurt.  

Also I would add lots of picnic tables so people could sit down and enjoy there picnic.  And I would make a little kid playground so little kids don’t get hurt on big kid playgrounds.  

Also I would plant a bunch of flowers in one spot so they could be by wildlife and a spot where there is no flowers so there would be a place where there is no bees for people who are allergic to them.  And a gazebo so people could sit and talk.  


Sarah Haugrud, 6th Grade

If I were mayor for a day, I would change a couple of things.  Here they are: the first thing I would change would be: the amount of crosswalks and sidewalks.  For all the kids who have to walk or bike to school, it needs to be safer.  Another thing I would change would be to make a fine for people who drive through crosswalks when people are walking.  This fine would be about $300.

The next think I would change would be to make a town garden.  this would be a place of relaxation and fun.  I would put in lots of flowers, trees, and other plants.  I also would put in a pond with lots of different fish.  A town garden would be a place where the whole town could get together for a fun movie night!  This garden and activities would be a great way to make the town people bond and become friends with each other!

The last thing I would do would be to have town celebration days.  Examples could be: Teacher Day or Student Day.  These could be days to appreciate certain people.  This would add fun things to peoples planners.

All these things I would change would make Pelican Rapids a better, happier and safer town.


Miren Thomas, 4th Grade

If I were mayor for a day, I would start a huge fund raiser for poor people and give them some food and money. 

 I would build the perfect animal center where you can bring homeless animals.  There would be free service for everyone.  Then I’d hire a street cleaner so no one would get mud or dirt on them.  I’d make sure we’d have shelter around the middle of town from rain. I would have some construction workers build a school supply shop so you wouldn’t have to go to Fargo or somewhere else.  Then I’d make sure everyone has a place to live.  

Gee!  Being a mayor must be hard.