If I Were Mayor


Submission Guidelines

We are pleased that you and your students remain interested in participating in MML’s essay contest. It’s an easy and fun activity to help students understand the government closest to the people. Each year we receive thousands of entries. Unfortunately, some essays are disqualified because instructions and rules were not followed. Please read the list below, to familiarize yourself with how to enter:

• See full contest RULES 


• Each teacher must submit a digital entry form. No group forms or multiple teachers per form.

 • You will receive access to a shareable Dropbox folder specific to your school’s Maryland Municipal League District 

• All essays must be combined into a single file 

• Number each essay at top of page 

• Word documents or PDF files only 

• Handwritten essays may be scanned or sent via jpeg, as long as the scan/photo are combined into a single PDF file 

• Name the combined essay file in the following manner o School Name(dot)Teacher’s Last Name(dot)Number of Essays within file o EXAMPLE: FarmElementary.Mason.25 

• Upload file into Dropbox Folder (Access to the Dropbox folder provided ONLY after you have submitted digital entry form)

All essay submissions due by March 31, 2021 by midnight. However, digital entry forms must be turned in by noon on March 31 in order to receive the Dropbox link necessary to submit your students essays.

Tips for Strong Entries

  • Try to avoid template essays, if at all possible.

For example, having every essay follow the exact same format for each paragraph. Often, the essays that catch the judges eyes are the essays that exhibit a student's individuality. Although providing a template for students to follow makes it easier for the entire class to participate, when every student follows one template it dilutes the power of the essay.

  • Encourage the students to truly visualize the town, in which they live, when answering the questions vs. choosing a generic problem for everyone to solve.

The essay judges like to know that the students, even at age 8 or 9, understand what challenges exist within their community. Although having all the students answer how they'd tackle pollution makes it easier for the entire class to participate, the essays that break through tend to exhibit a genuine knowledge of the problems plaguing a student's community - from their perspective.

  • Encourage students to write in their unique voice

It may be tempting to squash a student's inner comic or quirky voice and make them focus on the very serious task, at hand. However, some of the strongest essays have come from students whose voice resonates loud and clear from the page.

  • Make sure students understand how municipal government works

Each year thousands of 4th graders enter our "If I Were Mayor, I Would..." Essay Contest. Essays are judged by municipal officials, experts in how municipal government works. So, one of the best ways to strengthen your students' chance of winning is to make sure they understand how municipal government works and what the role of mayor involves.

There are several ways to help students understand how municipal government works, including hearing directly from a municipal official and checking out our fun facts on cities and towns below.

Requesting a Visit:


If you're interested in a school visit from a municipal official, contact the city/town manager, administrator, or clerk, and request a visit from your mayor or a councilperson. Officials are often willing to do visits November through mid-March to talk about municipal government, its role in the community, and the essay contest theme.

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