The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library
Mayor for the Day 2017
Posted 11 months ago by Rhonda SewellPosted in History, Politics, & Biography and Programs | Tagged with city government, community engagement, Maumee, Mayor for the Day, Sylvania, Toledo and Waterville
For one special day last month, nine-year-old Emme Frantz was bestowed the title of Honorary Mayor For the Day as proclaimed by City of Toledo officials.
In a time of political divisiveness, young Emme’s story of being born in China, speaking no English, and living in an orphanage of some 500 children at the time of her adoption at age 3½, to now speaking fluent English and developing a genuine love of reading, would move even the toughest to tears.
On a recent September day in Toledo City Council chambers, it was easy to notice why young Emme, a bespectacled girl with long dark hair, represents the best of our world. With a smile so bright that it literally lit up Council chambers, Emme beamed as Toledo Mayor, The Honorable Paula Hicks Hudson proclaimed her as an Honorary Mayor For the Day.
“She had never heard English before. Learning to read was no simple task for her … Now, she reads very well and is enjoying the worlds that are open to her through books and stories. This (Mayor For the Day) opportunity is such a fun reward for her, and it’s extra special because of her (personal) ‘story’,” said Emme’s mother Heather Frantz.
The fourth-grader’s special recognition was the result of a Library debut initiative, which called on Lucas County Mayors to become SRC Library Champions, and allow young SRC participants to become the top political leaders in the cities where each resides.
Participating SRC Library Champions included Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson; Sylvania Mayor, The Honorable Craig Stough; Maumee Mayor, The Honorable Richard Carr, and Waterville Mayor, The Honorable Lori Brodie.
In addition to Frantz’ honor in Toledo, siblings Samantha (10) and Jack (8) Budas, of Sylvan Elementary were proclaimed Honorary Mayors of Sylvania:
Iona Gullufsen (7), who is homeschooled, was named Honorary Mayor of Maumee:
And Mason Bowser (10), of Swanton Schools, as Honorary Mayor of Waterville:
As Library Champions, the four actual Mayors each visited their community’s library branch location – Main Library (Toledo), King Road Branch (Sylvania), Sylvania Branch (Sylvania), Maumee Branch, and Waterville Branch – and, actively participated in SRC programming, including a puppet show, crafts, robotics, and a free summer meal program.
“I had the opportunity to participate in programs at both Sylvania library branches – one for high school students and one for preschool children. I attended 'Teen Tech Night: Robotics at Your Library' at the new King Road Branch where members of the Southview Cat Attack Robotics Team gave a review and demonstration of their successful competition robot, and even let some of us drive it,” explained Mayor Stough.
“(Later), I joined the 'Preschool STEAM' at the Sylvania Branch on Monroe Street. We measured each other's faces and made paper plate faces with the same measurements.”
Putting all politics aside, the actual city Mayors spent memorable quality time with young Emme, Samantha, Jack, Iona and Mason, showing them around their offices, allowing the youngsters to sit in their official Mayoral seats, taking loads of photographs, being interviewed by media outlets, and each Honorary child Mayor got to proclaim READING DAY in their cities, after being recognized with resolutions and proclamations during City Council meetings.
Parents, grandparents and siblings beamed with pride during each ceremony.
Heather Frantz, mother of young Emme, watched intensely as her daughter pledged allegiance to the flag, and smiled when her daughter read the proclamation that designated September 20, 2017 as Reading Day in the City of Toledo.
“I like it here, and I think I want to work here one day,” Emme told her parents and Library officials after her Honorary Mayor For the Day recognition.
The lover of ballet, singing and math, who loves to make up new words, just might make it to the Government Center Building, or far beyond.
If she enters the world of politics one day, we’d like to think that the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, one of the most democratic of all institutions, might have played a small role in helping Emme and the rest of the honorary Mayors to believe that anything is possible. Books help children view the world beyond any perceived boundaries, and the transformative possibilities of the Library gives them the tools to learn and truly build a better world through their imagination.
Library officials hope to continue this Library Champion/Mayor For the Day initiative next year, and expand the program with additional Mayors throughout Lucas County. The Honorary Mayors, all age 10 and under, were granted Mayoral duties which expired at bedtime on the day of their recognitions.