2024 'If I Were Mayor' Contest Winners

This is an annual contest sponsored by the Oregon Mayors Association (OMA) where students in grades 4-12 from all over Oregon share their creative and inspirational ideas of what their city would look like if they were mayor.

Lake Oswego experienced an overwhelming increase of 42% submissions over last year. We received over 50 creative and interesting entries. While not every entry could be selected as a winner, each was informative and helpful in understanding what is important to those who participated and their peers.

After considering all entries, first, second and third place winners were selected in the following categories:

Posters – Grades 4 and 5
Essays – Grades 6 through 8

Poster Category

Torben Grosse-Wortmann

Torben’s artistic poster won 3rd place in the Poster category. Torben shared what he would consider if he was mayor. His ideas communicate:

  • Engaging his peers in the call to leadership so their voices can be heard in the decision-making process in schools
  • Opportunities for more clubs at schools, providing exploration for youth and finding hidden talents and sparking new interests
  • Meeting logistics: advantages of a round table vs rectangular table

Gia Hill

Gia’s poster took 2nd place in the Poster (grades 4-5) category.

It certainly shows her well-rounded vision. Gia’s message aligns with Council goals of opening a recreation center and adopting an Urban and Community Forest Plan. Gia also talked about the value of Community Gardens – not only do they provide an opportunity to grow and harvest food, they offer a place to socialize, relax the mind and move the body. Gia also noted the characteristics of a good leader that are of importance to her: humor, integrity, honor, perseverance, and collaboration.

Kenzie James

Kenzie’s thoughtful and colorful poster won 1st place in the Poster (grades 4-5) category. Kenzie’s poster exudes an inclusive feel depicting happy Lake Oswego residents representing diversity among ages and abilities. Along with tying her personal experience to create policy change regarding inclusivity, Kenzie presented another idea that creates bonding and meaningful relationships through an intergenerational volunteer program. Kenzie not only provided the “why”, but also how she would accomplish her goals.

As a 1st place winner, Kenzie was also entered in the Oregon Mayors Association's statewide contest for a chance to win up to $500.

Essay Category

Jad Chahin – 3rd Place

Jad’s clever opening captured our attention. “It would spark huge global news, everyone hollering, ‘Why would they put a fourteen-year-old in charge!’ If, once, I woke up with an envelope in the mail proclaiming that I would be required to be mayor, I would be shocked, too. Imagine the responsibility that comes with having such a role!”

Not only did Jad capture attention with his clever opening, he captured attention with citing his three rules of action in an organized manner. One rule he highlighted is his perspective with a self-operating democratic socialist system that would ensure the community has many opportunities to be heard being, being that the system is simplistic in nature. Another rule of action is to incorporate more youth by engaging them to share their voice in order to hear a fresh perspective.

Megan Rim – 2nd Place

Megan’s approach of “one step at a time, one solution at a time, and work to bring the community together” communicated a simple and pragmatic structure while engaging community members through volunteerism. She recognizes the technology gap between older adults and teenagers. Bringing them together will benefit both groups and will encourage an exchange that will show both differences and similarities among the each other. Megan also shared that she read an article about crosswalks that are more visible to drivers, reducing the amount of injuries and casualties to pedestrians.

Leuca Wanford – 1st Place

As a 1st place winner, Leuca was also entered in the Oregon Mayors Association's statewide contest for a chance to win up to $500.

Leuca’s well-written and extremely organized essay stood out in the category for a number of reasons. In addition to stating the desire to address important issues, Leuca:

  • Demonstrates knowledge of the Mayor’s role and begins his essay with the important quality of listening to the community.
  • Identifies an issue, includes community engagement via a survey and captures the primary City department that would execute and resolve the issue.
  • Realizes the importance of sustainability through clean energy and how it touches many facets of the City and everyday life.
  • Expresses the importance of communication and engagement through community events and the State of the City Address in order to encourage a safer, cleaner, supportive and inclusive environment.

To everyone who submitted an entry, we appreciate the time you spent presenting your ideas and enjoyed learning your unique perspective. We hope you stay involved as you grow older and consider participating as a Youth Advisor to the City in the future.

2024 OMA Statewide Contest-If I Were Mayor

This year, 25 cities participated and 18 essays were submitted for judging. A BIG congratulations to Leuca Wanford for placing 1st in the statewide contest! Leuca will be recognized this July at the OMA Summer Conference in Klamath Falls.