Rachel Carson 4th Grader Sworn in as Gaithersburg Junior Mayor

Gaithersburg announced its 2021 junior mayor yesterday during the mayor and city council meeting.

Abeer Dey, a fourth grader at Rachel Carson Elementary School was selected for this role from over 50 entries in an essay competition, according to a press release from the city

The prompt for the contest asked fourth graders living in Gaithersburg to describe what they would do as mayor, and this year’s contest focused on “Teamwork through Flexibility, Respect, Leadership and Civility,” according to the press release. 

In his essay, Dey focused on bullying and ways he would address the problem as the mayor of Gaithersburg. His suggestions included creating a station for reporting bullying during recess. 

Dey will carry out his role by being present either virtually or in person at events and ceremonies during the year. He will also be able to lead a community service project at his elementary school with the support of the city council and mayor.

The role was chosen through interviews with city staff for finalists in addition to the essays, which were considered by members of the Gaithersburg Educational Enrichment Committee, according to the press release.

Ashman said that this competition is important to him because it educates young students about municipal government. 

“Abeer is following in the footsteps of a long line of young Junior Mayors who have had an opportunity to experience local government in a unique way,” Ashman said, “and we’ve appreciated what they’ve taught us in the process.”

Dey will be taking over the role from the previous junior mayor, Hayden Sandlin, a student at Fields Road Elementary School. Ashman and Sandlin discussed how the role was different throughout the pandemic because there were less in-person events. Sandlin often appeared at ceremonies virtually and sometimes in person during his time as junior mayor.

“We’ve made it so far through a period of time unlike any other and that is an accomplishment to be celebrated,” Sandlin said. 

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About Madelyn Willoughby

Madelyn Willoughby is an intern with MyMCMedia and a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland majoring in journalism. She is from northern New Jersey and has always loved to write. She hosts a weekly podcast with friends called In Retrograde and serves as a writer and the assistant social media manager for Her Campus Maryland.

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