Two Grade 9 students become Ottawa’s Mayor for a Day

The municipal election campaign is underway in the city of Ottawa. While five people have already filed nomination papers to run for Mayor, two Ottawa high school students beat them to the job – although just for a day.

Merivale High School Grade 9 students Sam Benes and Dayna Xiao won a contest to be Mayor for a Day. Candidates had to submit an essay, explaining what issues matter most to them.

“Even though I think it’s such an amazing city, I think you could do a little bit better on educating people about racism and discrimination,” Xiao told CTV News Ottawa while on a tour of Ottawa City Hall.

“I would like more community involvement,” said Benes. “One of my ideas was an outdoor-interactive art installation.” 

Their ideas to improve Ottawa on cultural representation, environmental health and mental health. They entered politics to make a difference, even if it was just for a day,

“It’s important to be involved in the community and know what’s going on,” said Benes.

“It’s so prevalent in our lives,” said Xiao.

Mayor Jim Watson took the two on a tour of City Hall, explained the city’s history while showing exhibits in the Barbara Ann Scott Gallery, and they attended city meetings.

The two students also spent time in an OC Transpo LRT simulator.

“Very cool, it’s a really high-tech simulator,” said Benes.

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