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Mukilteo 5th grader wins Mayor for a Day


September 6, 2017

Mukilteo fifth-grader Finley Gonzales is the winner of the 2017 Mayor for a Day essay contest. She will ride with Mayor Jennifer Gregerson in the festival parade Saturday. Here, she sits in the Gregerson’s chair in the mayor’s office during a tour of City Hall.

Rather than settle for the title of runner-up in last year’s Mayor for a Day essay contest, Finley Gonzales decided to try again this year – and it paid off.

Ten-year-old Finley, a fifth grader at Endeavour Elementary School, is the winner of Beacon Publishing’s eighth-annual Mayor for a Day essay contest.

She will ride with Mayor Jennifer Gregerson in Saturday’s annual Lighthouse Festival Parade, be honored on the main stage at Lighthouse Park on Saturday afternoon, and enjoy a catered dinner in the VIP tent while watching the fireworks with her family.

“I’m looking forward to going on the float,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to be on a float.”

On a recent afternoon, Finley was sitting around at home with her family talking about the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival when her 16-year-old brother, Griffen Gonzales, suggested they go to Lighthouse Park this year to watch the fireworks.

“Then my mom said that since I won [the essay contest] we would get to go do that,” Finley said. “I thought she was just joking, so I said ‘If I win…’ just so she wouldn’t jinx it. But then she said that I did win.”

Last week, Finley and her family visited City Hall, met Mayor Gregerson and took a tour, not only of City Hall but also the city’s police and fire stations.

“It was better than I expected,” she said. “The fire department was really cool because they rode me around in the fire truck and they put me on the stretcher and took me out of the ambulance and then put me back in. Then I got to wear one of their coats and see their dorms.”

At the police station, she got to see what policemen and women have on their belts. She also got to see the cells where they hold people who have been arrested as well as where they take people’s fingerprints.

“It was really fun,” she said.

Gregerson also gave her an idea of what it takes to be mayor.

“She said she doesn’t get any sick days and she has to work really hard,” Finley said. “Being mayor sounds like it’s challenging, but it also sounds like it can be really fun.”

Finley would like to be mayor someday, too, though she said her future as a professional basketball player would have to come first.

“After I play WNBA basketball, I’m going to come back and run for mayor of Mukilteo,” she said.”

Finley is in Kamiak High School's feeder basketball program and plans to play for Knights when she gets to high school. Her favorite professional basketball players are Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm and Isaiah Thomas of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

If Finley were mayor, she said she would invest in the Boys & Girls Club so children in Mukilteo could have more and better basketball courts to play on.

Besides basketball, Finley likes volleyball and gymnastics. She also enjoys math and reading scary books.

In her essay, Finley said she appreciates all the after-school activities for kids in Mukilteo, such as Destination Imagination (DI). Last school year, she was on a DI team called Quackers the Goose.

Her advice to others who are thinking of entering the essay contest: “Write down what you think and not what other people think.”

See the Opinion section to read Finley’s essay, as well as the essay by runner-up Sophie Thompson.


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