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From the Mayor's Desk

San Diego K-12 Students Invited to Submit Essay for Annual ‘Mayor for a Day’ Contest 

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mayor for a day emma smith

My annual “Mayor for a Day” contest for City of San Diego K-12 students is now live! 

The winner will shadow me and other City leaders for a day, plus have a special role at the State of the City address in January of 2024.  

Students are invited to write an essay or submit a video about how they would make San Diego a better place to live if they were Mayor. The selected winner will be invited to City Hall and given the opportunity to attend meetings and events with the me. They will also learn about other city departments and lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the State of the City address in January.  

The “Mayor for a Day” contest aims to foster and encourage leadership in young people living in San Diego. At age 10, I was 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.  

My hope is that the experience will help get kids interested in a career in public service. A contest like this helped get me interested in leadership at a young age, so I brought it back to help inspire San Diego’s next generation of civic leaders. 

I launched the “Mayor for a Day” contest in 2022. The winner in 2022 was Aiella Niles, a third-grade student from Mira Mesa who wrote an essay about the importance of picking up litter and keeping San Diego clean.   

The winner in 2023 was Emma Smith, a fifth-grade student from Tierrasanta who wrote an essay about how she wanted to learn how to help her neighbors in need, repair San Diego’s streets and clean up parks and beaches.  

The deadline to submit applications is midnight Dec. 15. Students can apply online here.