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From the Mayor's Desk

Meet San Diego's 2024 'Mayor for a Day': Uma Onwuchekwa 

2024 Mayor for a Day

This year's "Mayor for a Day" contest winner is Uma Onwuchekwa, an incoming ninth grader from Tierrasanta. I had the privilege of welcoming Mayor Uma, who impressed us all with his passion for creating more housing and addressing homelessness in San Diego.  

My “Mayor for a Day” contest aims to foster and encourage leadership in young people living in San Diego. At age 10, I was actually a runner-up in a "Mayor for a Day" contest at the City of San Diego. Thirty-two years later, I was sworn in as San Diego’s 37th Mayor. 

I launched the “Mayor for a Day” contest in 2022 to inspire the next generation of civic leaders. Our first winner, Aiella Niles, a third-grade student from Mira Mesa, wrote an essay about the importance of picking up litter and keeping San Diego clean. 

In 2023, our winner was Emma Smith, a fifth-grade student from Tierrasanta. Emma's essay focused on her desire to help her neighbors in need, repair San Diego’s streets, and clean up parks and beaches. 

Uma's winning essay highlighted his dedication to addressing housing affordability and homelessness. In his essay, he addressed the urgent issue of homelessness and thoughtful solutions, including making food more affordable and enhancing educational curriculums to be more engaging and accessible. 


2024 mayor for the day at city council

As part of his day, Uma spoke to the City Council, spent time with our City Communications Department, participated in the groundbreaking ceremony of the San Diego Airpark Project at Brown Field, and visited our San Diego Police and Fire-Rescue departments. These experiences were designed to inspire Uma and deepen his understanding of public service. 

In addition to recognizing Uma, I was also pleased to include the runners-up in this year's program. Zamir Rose from Lincoln High School, Malia Wilke from Mt. Everest Academy, and Milo Bergeron from Bird Rock Elementary each spent a day with different City departments, gaining valuable insights into how our City operates. 

Congratulations to Uma and our runners-up for their exceptional contributions and for their interest in making San Diego a better place. Your passion and dedication are inspiring, and I look forward to seeing how you will continue to make a positive impact in our community. 


uma mayor for the day