Harbour Pointe 7th grader wins Mayor for a Day contest

By Sara Bruestle | Sep 04, 2013
Photo by: Sara Bruestle Mukilteo seventh grader Katie Ross is the winner of the 2013 Mayor for a Day essay contest. Katie will ride with Mayor Joe Marine in the festival parade Saturday. Above, Katie and the mayor are in his office at Mukilteo City Hall.

The third time’s the charm for 12-year-old Katie Ross. The wannabe mayor wrote two runner-up essays before her third try won her the opportunity to be Mukilteo’s mayor for a day.

Katie, a seventh grader at Harbour Pointe Middle School, is the winner of Beacon Publishing’s fourth annual Mayor for a Day essay contest. She was the runner-up in 2011 and 2012.

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

“It’s exciting and it’s relieving, too,” Katie said. “I finally won after three tries. I was like, ‘Yes! Finally!’”

When she heard she won, Katie was so overjoyed that she screamed and jumped up and down. Her mom had answered the phone when The Beacon called and let out a scream herself. After they hung up, there was more screaming and jumping.

“We’re proud of her,” said Katie’s mom, Betty Ross. “She was runner-up for two years, and she really wanted to try and win. Her determination, perseverance and hard work drove her to write her essays.

“Some kids, if they don’t get it, they quit. If you don’t win, it doesn’t mean you won’t get it next time.”

Katie’s teachers and classmates were rooting for her to win this year, not only because it was her third try, but because at 12 years old, this was also her last try. The Mayor for a Day contest is for Mukilteo kids ages 8-12.

Her teachers even offered their help with writing the essay, but Katie held steadfast: The contest rules said she couldn’t get help from Mom or Dad, so she wasn’t going to get any help at all.

“I thought, ‘I’ll just try it again and I’ll win,’” she said. “‘I have to win this time. I tried twice, I can’t be second place again.’”

As mayor, Katie would declare a No Homework Day, where Mukilteo students and teachers alike would get a break from studying and grading for one school day.

“It would benefit both ways, because us kids don’t like homework because it takes a lot of time,” Katie said. “And, for the teachers, they won’t have to stress about correcting six classes of work.”

In addition to No Homework Day, Katie would establish a citywide recycling program that teaches and encourages kids to reduce, reuse and recycle and to care for the Earth.

“We need to recycle because we’re going to eventually run out of resources,” she said. “I don’t want to kill all those trees out there.

“We have a lot of trees in our neighborhoods. It would be hard to see all those trees gone.”

Katie has been in the festival parade once before – with her swim team – but this year she’s excited to get to ride on the city’s float, which is of the Mukilteo lighthouse and beachfront. This year’s festival theme is “A Pirate Adventure,” adding to the excitement.

“That float looks pretty cool,” she said. “I can’t wait to dress up as a pirate with a bandana and eye patch.”

When she isn’t at school, Katie likes to read books that she checks out at the Mukilteo Library (she could “read for days”); practice with her South Snohomish County Dolphins swim team; and bake cookies, bread and, her specialty, fruit tarts (“Katie’s Signature Fruit Tarts” go fast).

When she grows up, Katie wants to be a zoo veterinarian and work to repopulate the pandas of the world. Pandas are her favorite animal. She has a panda stuffed animal collection.

“I’m very interested in animals, and I want to take care of them,” she said.

Or, if not a veterinarian, she said she may decide to run for the full-term mayor of Mukilteo.

“There’s a lot of things the mayor can do for the city,” Katie said. “Especially, already being a citizen here and growing up as one, I would know what the people would want and expect of a mayor.”

Go to the Opinion - Guest View tab at www.mukilteobeacon.com to read Katie Ross's contest-winning essay and the runner-up essay by Leah Robison.

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