On Thursday, our 1st graders had a very special and important guest Zoom into their on-campus and at-home classrooms. The Mayor of the City of Ladue, Nancy Spewak, took time out of her morning to give a virtual presentation to the excited students. She answered questions the 1st grade teachers had compiled in advance, followed by questions from the students themselves.
“Our big focus points are helping students understand what community means and who the leaders of communities are,” shared First Grade Teacher Robin Campbell. “It wouldn’t surprise me if, after listening to Mayor Spewak, we now have several students who are considering one day becoming the mayor of their community.”
Spewak spoke about what she does on a regular basis as mayor. She talked about using listening skills to help solve problems that are brought to her by people in the community.
“The most important thing about being mayor is learning to listen. All points of view are important.”
“It’s important to listen to both sides and to try to encourage both groups to listen to each other,” she said, and emphasized that it is always possible to find a way to get along.
Spewak also talked about the most difficult parts of her job as well as her favorite parts of her job as mayor. Regarding what’s difficult, she explained that she doesn’t always get to accomplish every single thing she wants to do as mayor. Sometimes, she has to say no. It’s difficult not being able to do something that someone wants her to do. On the flip side, one of her favorite opportunities as mayor is getting to talk to kids like she did with our first graders. She enjoys helping people solve their problems. “I also love making Ladue a better place. We add sidewalks, plant trees, and improve the way that our residents live in the city.”
Campbell asked the mayor if she always wanted to be mayor. Spewak said she didn’t have this on her radar at first. Eventually, she worked on a committee for the Ladue Parade and found herself wanting to contribute more. She became a council member for the Ladue City Council of which there are six members who are led by the mayor. After serving for many years on the council, she decided it would be a good idea to run for mayor.
The kids asked some great questions. They wanted to know how long Spewak has been mayor in years and in days. She stated that she’s been mayor for almost eight years which, if you do the math, adds up to over 2,900 days! She explained that every two years, community members vote in order for her to continue and be reelected to her position.
First graders wanted to know more about Spewak’s involvement with the community and the police. She shared about how she visits businesses and people in the community alongside policemen and women. She even invited the students to take a tour of the Police Department after the coronavirus pandemic passes.
Lastly, they asked about her work with community helpers. Spewak shared that if someone lives in Ladue and wants to help, they can sit on different committees to contribute. They can help with the budget and finances of the city, they can clear honeysuckle, and they can work to keep our laws and ordinances strong.
The first graders had so much fun with Mayor Spewak. What a special visit for them!