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2019 Mayor for a Day Challenge winners annouced

2019 Mayor for a Day Challenge winners Paige Blumhagen (third from left) and Hannah Jensen (fifth from right) were recognized May 21 by Airdrie City council for the ideas they submitted to improve the community. Photo Submitted/For Rocky View Publishing

Two local students were presented with awards at a regular meeting of Airdrie City council May 21, recognizing their winning submissions in this year’s Mayor for a Day Challenge.

According to Pauline Clark, social planner for the City of Airdrie, the annual challenge invites students in middle school and high school to submit their ideas for projects or initiatives they feel would improve the community.

This year, she said, fifteen applications were received and reviewed by the Airdrie Board of Youth Affairs, which scored them in the areas of originality, feasibility and appeal. Entries were short-listed to the top four finalists, and members of City council were brought in for the final evaluation.

“During this scoring round, the finalists had the opportunity to present their ideas,” Clark said. “Once scoring was complete, two students were selected as the 2019 Mayor for a Day Challenge winners.”

Ten-year-old Paige Blumhagen was selected as the winner in the middle school category for her suggestion to install streetlights along the path at Monkland’s soccer field in the Canals.

“In the winter months, it is dark in the morning walking to school and from after-school activities,” she wrote in her challenge submission. “This idea will help children walk safely on the path to C.W. Perry and Ralph McCall schools.”

The high school winner is 14-year-old Hannah Jensen, who proposed a new multi-purpose building be constructed in Airdrie to accommodate the needs of various community groups, including Canadian Cadet organizations and Girl Guides of Canada.

“The challenge I am trying to address is that the non-profit organizations in Airdrie do not have adequate space to meet their needs. This facility I am proposing would address the issue,” her submission states.

While the initiatives are intended to be conceptual in nature, according to Clark, many of the past ideas submitted by previous Mayor for a Day winners have been or are being planned for the City.

Since the challenge was first issued in 2012, she said, students have proposed projects in areas including community development, transit, waste and recycling, engineering, social planning, communications and parks. According to Clark, these suggestions have resulted in municipal initiatives such as fundraisers and events, expanded bus service and fee programs, curbside recycling and composting and the development of a volunteer app by Volunteer Airdrie.

This year’s winners will have their chance to learn more about the process involved in bringing their ideas to fruition this summer, when they receive the second part of their prize.

“Each winner will have the opportunity to spend a day in the life of our mayor,” Clark said. “This unique experience will include a lunch meeting with Mayor Brown, an opportunity to explore and learn about City Hall and our growing community, as well as participate in and co-chair a City council meeting.”


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