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Laila Beck-Covington of Spratley Gifted Center places first in state Virginia Municipal League (VML) If I Were Mayor contest

Congratulations to Laila Beck-Covington, a seventh grade student at Spratley Gifted Center. Laila placed first in the state in the Virginia Municipal League (VML) If I Were Mayor contest. She competed with hundreds of other seventh grade students from across the state. The challenge to the students was to describe what worked (and did not work) for them during the past year of schooling during a pandemic. They were also asked to explain how they would, as mayor of their community, make the lessons they have learned work for everyone.

In her essay, Laila identified the positive that works for students during the pandemic as having Fridays to catch up on work and receive remediation time from teachers. She identified the negative that needs to be addressed as the unstable internet in different areas of not only her city, but the whole country. She said the first thing she would do as mayor would be to “meet with my district’s school board. I would present my ideas and collaborate with the school board members to figure out the best way to implement my suggestion.”

In choosing Laila’s essay to be the statewide winner, VML’s president, Mayor Willie Greene of the City of Galax, noted, “Laila identified two major issues and came up with some particularly good solutions to solve them. She has her priorities in order, and a genuine concern for all the students in her community. So, congratulations to Laila for a very well written essay!”

“Congratulations on being this year's state champ for the VML essay contest,” said Spratley seventh grade English teacher Laura Joy Palma. “I could not be more proud of my budding writer.”

Laila will receive $150 as the regional winner and an additional $250 and a plaque as the state winner. She will also be recognized at an upcoming Hampton City Council meeting. You may read Laila’s winning essay at https://www.vml.org/wp-content/uploads/pdf/2021WinningEssaysALL.pdf.