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Hagerstown mayor visits Potomac Heights Elementary

February 04, 2008|By JANET HEIM

Fourth-graders at Potomac Heights Elementary School had lots of questions for Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II when he visited their school Tuesday. Some were political -- would he run for re-election and who would he vote for for president?

The majority of questions, though, were personal. Students seemed surprised that Bruchey didn't live in a mansion and didn't arrive in a limousine. They were curious about his family and pets, and how he spent his free time.

Bruchey had talked to students at Bester Elementary School in the morning and they wondered if he was rich and if he had a bodyguard. The mayor takes all the questions in stride as he talks to local fourth-graders about the statewide "If I Were a Mayor, I Would ..." essay contest.

The annual contest is sponsored by the Maryland Municipal League and Maryland Mayors' Association

This year's essay question asks students to write about the types of services and community activities they would provide for citizens if they were mayor and how they would promote their community to attract more visitors.

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Bruchey said he and his wife, Susan, read all the local essays and select the school winners.Those students get to spend a day with the mayor, which includes a pizza party.

The winning essays go on for judging at the state level. One of last year's state winners was Jameek Booth of Salem Avenue Elementary School, Bruchey said.

Bruchey talked about community services and how as mayor he has to think of how things will benefit the community. He also spoke about consensus building in terms the students could relate to, as well as explaining charter home rule.

Kane McGarvey, 10, wanted to know if being mayor was fun. He said it was interesting learning about the mayor's life and was most surprised to learn he had been in the U. S. Army.

Bruchey stressed the importance of education and said no matter what job students wanted to do when they grow up, the one common link is teachers.

"Pay attention to your teachers. Stay in school, study hard and stay on the right path," Bruchey said.

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