By Jim Misunas
LARNED — Larned Middle School seventh grader Hunter Fitzpatrick will meet Kansas Governor Sam Brownback after winning, “If I Were Mayor,” Essay Contest for the south central region of Kansas.
Hunter will meet the Governor at the State Capitol Plaza on City Hall Day at 2 p.m. Feb. 6 in Topeka.
“It is an honor for me to meet the Governor,” Hunter said. “I admire his dedication to keeping Kansas as safe and clean as it can be.”
As one of six regional winners, Hunter will receive $125 and a plaque. He is eligible for an additional $250 if he chosen as the overall Kansas winner.
“This is a pretty big deal as Gov. Brownback will present the awards and it will be a part of City Hall Day in Topeka,” said Paul Deveaux, Larned Middle School language arts teacher.
Hunter’s favorite subject in school is history. But he also enjoys current events. He watched all of the Presidential debates.
“The reason history is my favorite subject is because of wars and learning about the way our country works,” he said. “People told me I was weird because I watched all the Presidential debates this year. That is just what I like to do in my spare time.”
Hunter said he was happy he participated in the essay contest that earned him 50 extra-credit points.
“It took me about one hour to write the essay, but all the time that it took me to write it definitely paid off,” he said.
The family was notified by mail that Hunter had submitted the winning essay.
“I found out about the reward in the middle of the day during my little brother’s birthday,” Hunter said. “I was full of pride when I found out because nobody thought I could do this. The only person who needed to believe in me is me.”
Jennifer Fitzpatrick, Hunter’s mother said, “We had somewhat forgot about the essay and were shocked to hear that he had done so well. We were very excited for Hunter. He is extremely excited to go to Topeka and meet the governor. He would also like to visit the State Capitol. Hunter has always had an interest in social studies and especially government and how things work.”
Fitzpatrick teaches chemistry at Larned High School and has taught at Larned for 17 years. Hunter, 12, and Easton, 9, is a second-grader.
“The school assignment was for extra work and Hunter chose to be a part of the contest,” Fitzpatrick said. “As a parent I thought it was for class.”
The essay contest sponsored by the League of Kansas Municipalities promotes the mission of encouraging civic engagement and education. The League of Kansas Municipalities has organized a junior high essay contest to encourage good government and to help satisfy the Kansas Board of Education civic requirements the past 10 years.
The essay asks students to describe what they would do as mayors to improve their community. The hope is that seventh-grade teachers across Kansas will use the essay to address the state’s seventh grade civics-government benchmarks.