Student raising his hand to ask Brandy Gray a question.

In early December, students from seventh grade social studies welcomed a guest speaker, the recently elected Mayor of Solomon, Brandy Gray, for an engaging discussion to gain insights into local government affairs. Before her visit, students selected questions they wished to ask, spanning topics from the mayor’s salary to plans for addressing critical issues, city improvements, and economic development. After asking about how the city pays for its enhancements, Gray was asked if she could add anything to the town would it be a gas station, a coffee shop, Wal-Mart, or a restaurant. She responded that her answer would vary depending on her perspective, emphasizing that personal desires might not always align with what’s most beneficial for the town. 

Throughout the class period, the class remained engaged, eagerly raising numerous questions until they ran out of time. “The kids’ questions were amazing; they narrowed down their top questions, and they were well-drafted and interesting. It’s exciting to see that our kids are interested in our city government and ways that they can make a positive difference,” expressed Gray. Additionally, she noted, “I love the fact that they were very interactive; they were willing to engage with me and tell me their thoughts about the town.” The session ended with a brief local government quiz, challenging students to name members of the city council for a prize. 

Post-interaction, students Spencer Hall and Jonathan Shirack shared their insights. Hall acknowledged, “It made me understand that there are a lot of issues they are trying to fix.” Shirack, while expressing that although he isn’t interested in a political career, highlighted the significance of voting, saying, “Voting can affect your city, and if you don’t vote, someone who may do something wrong could end up in office.” 

Piper Larson, another student, found inspiration from her encounter with Gray. “When I was younger, I thought about running for president. It’s not usually a girl in the mayor role. But everyone can do it, and it makes me want to do it a little bit more.” 

Reflecting on the discussions, future Mayor Gray expressed “Lastly, I hope that they were able to see that they can make a difference in our community; that’s the most important thing. Their opinion matters, and their contribution to our community matters. I hope they know they can be a part of it all.”Gray hopes her visit made a lasting impact, instilling a deeper sense of civic responsibility within Solomon’s emerging generation.