Harbour Pointe 7th grader wins Mayor for a Day contest | Mukilteo Festival

By Sara Bruestle | Sep 03, 2014
Photo by: Sara Bruestle Mukilteo seventh grader Lara Wahid is the winner of the 2014 Mayor for a Day essay contest. Lara will ride with Mayor Jennifer Gregerson in the festival parade Saturday. Above, Lara and the mayor are in Gergerson’s office at Mukilteo City Hall.

If 12-year-old Lara Wahid were mayor, she’d be the No. 1 advocate for Mukilteo students. The wannabe mayor would order that schools be remodeled and that students get to sleep in.

Lara, a seventh grader at Harbour Pointe Middle School, is the winner of Beacon Publishing’s fifth annual Mayor for a Day essay contest.

She will ride with Mayor Jennifer Gregerson in Saturday’s annual Lighthouse Festival Parade, be honored on the main stage at Lighthouse Park Saturday afternoon, and enjoy a catered Arnies Restaurant buffet at the VIP dinner while watching the fireworks with her family.

“I’m actually very surprised, because I didn’t expect to win,” Lara said of the honor. “I am really happy and excited to be Mayor of the Day for the festival.”

When she heard she won, Lara was so overjoyed that she laughed and then called everybody she could think of – her grandma, uncles, neighbors – to tell them she’d won.

“I always tell her in the summer to do something – at least do some workbooks – but she didn’t want to,” said Laboni Ahmed, Lara’s mom. “She was telling me, ‘See, I won [the contest], so I’m good at writing.’

“It was a good opportunity for kids to practice their writing and think about the city they live in.”

Her family has yet to go to the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival – they’ve been busy that weekend – which means the first time Lara sees the festival parade, she will be in it.

“I’m really excited for the parade,” Lara said. “I want to see how it goes.”

As mayor, Lara would order the remodeling of Mukilteo School District schools because, she said, many of them are too old and too small.

“Some of the schools have lots of tiny buildings, so you have to go outside to change buildings,” she added. “I would change that.”

Lara would also change the time school starts for middle and high school students from 8:20 a.m. and 7:20 a.m., respectively, to either 9:30 a.m. or 10 a.m.

“It’s too early,” she said. “We want to sleep.”

She would declare a Kids Are Parents Day, where Mukilteo kids get to swap roles with their moms and dads.

“You basically act like a parent and tell the parents what to do, as if they’re kids,” Lara said.

In addition to Kids Are Parents Day, Lara would develop more parks, playgrounds and sidewalks around town so that families can play or ride bikes together.

When she isn’t at school, Lara likes to go swimming, ride her bike, play badminton and do karate – she’s a green belt now.

When she grows up, Lara said she wants to be a mechanical engineer, just like her parents. Maybe she’d work at Boeing Co., too, she said.

“It kind of seems interesting,” Lara said. “I like math.”

Or, if not an engineer, she said she might decide to run for the full-term mayor of Mukilteo.

“After I see how Mayor for a Day turns out, I might like it,” she said.

Though Lara laughed because she won, her 9-year-old sister, Mohuwa, who had also entered the contest, cried because she didn’t.

When she was reminded that last year’s winner, Katie Ross, tried three times before she won Mayor for a Day, Mohuwa said she’ll “definitely” enter the contest again next year.

Go to the Opinion - Guest View tab at www.mukilteobeacon.com to read Lara Wahid's contest-winning essay and the runner-up essay by Angie Kim.

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