A 10-year-old’s plan of action if he were mayor has earned him some quality time with the governor.
Chase Eder, a fourth-grader at Spring Ridge Elementary School, recently won the “If I Were Mayor” essay contest sponsored by the Maryland Municipal League for his essay that said he would “change the way people treat other citizens poorly because they look different or think different.”
Chase’s teacher, Ryan Oman, gave the students the option to complete a 275-word essay about their public policy ambitions. Chase applied as a way to get involved in making his community a better place, he said.
He wrote and edited the essay independently before turning it in for Oman to submit.
“I felt like I had a good chance to win, because I’ve always been a pretty good writer,” Chase said.
Chase’s younger brother, Brady, has Down syndrome and ADHD, which inspired him to write about creating a school program to teach students about disabilities and not treat others differently based on their looks.
Chase would also create a program to have community members go to events with people who have special needs or disabilities. At those events, children and parents could talk about what they learned and what they may not have understood previously about people with disabilities.
“He’s never had anyone pick on him, but I went to Chick-fil-A once and people standing in line were calling someone another name for stupid, and I didn’t like that,” Chase said.
Chase added that he’d like a program like this, because, with Brady in kindergarten, Chase won’t always be in the same school to protect his little brother, he said.
After applying, Chase waited to find out if he won. While his class was on a field trip to Annapolis, the bus got a flat tire. With the students waiting for the tire to be repaired, Chase’s mother checked her email to find that he had won the contest.
“That was like the best part of the field trip, because we lost 45 minutes for the flat tire,” Chase said.
He’ll get to make some of that time up May 17, when he visits the capital again to go on a boat ride with Gov. Larry Hogan. He’ll also get the chance to rub elbows with city government officials when he attends the Board of Aldermen meeting May 23 to read his essay.
Chase also received $125 for winning the contest, of which he said he intends to save $25 and then “go on a shopping spree to Target.”
Chase read his winning essay over the speaker system at school for the morning announcements, and one teacher was moved to tears, Oman said.
“He chose something that’s very mature for a 10-year-old to write about and experience,” Oman said. “It’s something I’d love to see him follow through on and start small and build upon.”