CHES stu­dent wins Mayor’s Es­say Con­test

Record Observer - - Front Page - By JACK SHAUM jshaum@kibay­

AN­NAPO­LIS — “If I Were Mayor I would make my town a safer, health­ier, and a bet­ter place to live in.”

That’s the open­ing line in the es­say that 10-year-old Billy Schindler of Church Hill wrote that led to him be­ing se­lected as a district win­ner in the an­nual Mayor’s Es­say Con­test spon­sored by the Maryland Mu­nic­i­pal League and the Maryland May­ors’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

The con­test is open to fourth-graders across the state and is de­signed to “give stu­dents a chance to cre­atively use grade-spe­cific lan­guage arts skills and civics/so­cial stud­ies knowl­edge,” ac­cord­ing to MML. This year, it said, there were nearly 3,000 es­says sub­mit­ted from eleven dis­tricts across the state and one win­ner and four semi-fi­nal­ists were se­lected from each district.

Billy, a stu­dent at Church Hill El­e­men­tary School, was the win­ner in District 2 which cov­ers Queen Anne’s, Caro­line, Kent, and Tal­bot coun­ties. The District 2 semi-fi­nal­ists were Ad­disyn Lit­ton from Milling­ton El­e­men­tary; Zoe Markovic

of Rock Hall El­e­men­tary; Emily Mar­vel of Sudlersville El­e­men­tary; and Alyssa Skin­ner, of Church Hill El­e­men­tary.

On May 11 the win­ners, teach­ers and par­ents went to the State House in An­napo­lis where they were rec­og­nized by Lt. Gov. Boyd Ruther­ford, of­fi­cials of the two spon­sor­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions, and the in­terim state su­per­in­ten­dent of schools. Each re­ceived a plaque and a gov­er­nor’s ci­ta­tion, $100 in cash, and a cruise of An­napo­lis har­bor on the Har­bor Queen.

“I was su­per ex­cited,” Billy said in an in­ter­view. “I went to the gov­er­nor’s meet­ing room and met all the other district win­ners.”

He said his fa­vorite sub­jects in school are math, sci­ence, and read­ing. He and the rest of the Church Hill fourth grade have been study­ing lo­cal govern­ment and had a visit from Church Hill Town Com­mis­sioner Ed Raf­fetto ear­lier this year, and went to the town hall on a field trip to see the seat of town govern­ment.

When he’s not study­ing, Billy said he en­joys hunt­ing, fish­ing, and bas­ket­ball.

“This was a great honor,” said teacher Paul Tay­lor. “He did a great job on the pro­ject and I’m very happy. All of the kids had great ideas.” He said he was es­pe­cially im­pressed with how de­tailed Billy’s es­say was.

In it, he said that if he were mayor, he would put a com­mu­nity gar­den in the empty lot by the park “so that each family can have a gar­den bed to plant fruits and veg­eta­bles.” Then, he would cre­ate a Church Hill Satur­day farm­ers mar­ket where town res­i­dents could sell what they grew in their gar­den. “That would make my town a health­ier place,” he wrote.

He also would put a bike lane on the road so stu­dents can ride their bikes to school, which would make for a safer town. His es­say also sug­gests con­vert­ing the now va­cant bank build­ing on Main Street into a diner so lo­cal folks would have a nearby place to go out to din­ner or “grab a healthy bite to eat when you are trav­el­ing.”

Billy also said that if he were mayor he would have a day once a month to see which family can pick up the most trash in town, and the family that does so would re­ceive a $50 gift card to the lo­cal diner, which, he said, makes for a cleaner town.

“To pay for all the ex­penses, I would have a color run to raise money,” he said in the es­say. Color runs are de­scribed on Wikipedia as an event de­signed to pro­mote health and hap­pi­ness. “Also, since Church Hill has one of the low­est taxes in Maryland, then I would raise taxes two dol­lars.”

Billy’s par­ents, Christina and Bill Schindler, said they are very proud of their son.

“What im­presses us most is that the ideas he de­vel­oped re­ally ad­dress true needs in our com­mu­nity, and he was able to cap­i­tal­ize on cre­at­ing re­sources out of aban­doned ar­eas in Church Hill,” Christina Schindler said. “We never re­al­ized how much our bike rides to the park im­pacted his view of our com­mu­nity.”

Even though Church Hill has com­mis­sion­ers rather than a mayor, did he think he’d like to be a com­mis­sioner or a mayor some­day.

“Maybe,” he said with a chuckle.


Church Hill El­e­men­tary School fourth-grader Billy Schindler and teacher Paul Tay­lor stand be­neath a por­trait of Lord Bal­ti­more at the State House where Billy was rec­og­nized for his “If I Were Mayor” es­say.


Billy Schindler and teacher Paul Tay­lor out­side the Maryland State House where Billy was rec­og­nized as the District 2 win­ner of the 2016 “If I Were Mayor” es­say con­test.

Billy Schindler, a fourth-grader at Church Hill El­e­men­tary School, is con­grat­u­lated by Lt. Gov. Boyd Ruther­ford at the State House for his win­ning “If I Were Mayor” es­say.

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