The New York State Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) is inviting all eighth grade students currently enrolled in a school located in a city or village in New York State to participate in NYCOM's fourth annual essay contest addressing the topic, “If I Were Mayor, I Would ...."


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the constraints of our local school systems, we regretfully announce the cancellation of the 2022 ‘If I Were Mayor, I Would…” essay contest for New York State eight graders. We look forward to your future creative and original ideas supporting your communities.

CONTEST RULES (contest is closed)

This contest is open to any 8th grade student currently enrolled in a school located in a CITY or VILLAGE in New York State. If you are unsure whether your school is located within a city or village, please click HERE to view a list of towns, villages and cities in New York State. If you have students who live in the village, but the school is located in a town, that student is still eligible as an individual to submit their essay.

  • Each submission must clearly identify the student’s name (displayed on essay), school they attend and city or village in which the school (or student) is located. If a student is submitting an essay as an individual not associated with a school (i.e., homeschool or school not located in a city or village), simply fill the entry form out with a sponsor (parent, guardian, etc.) name instead of a teacher name and school.
  • Essay should begin with “If I Were Mayor, I Would...” and explain WHAT you want to do, WHY you want to do it and HOW you are going to undertake such action, including where the money will come from to pay for it. We suggest limiting your actions to one or two ideas in order to fully develop them.
  • Essays must be between 350-500 words (1-2 pages | must not exceed 500 words).
  • Only one essay may be submitted per student.

TEACHERS: If you are submitting one entry form/email for an entire class, please make sure the student's name and both the name of the school and teacher are located on the top of EACH essay and paperclip together (no staples please).

MAIL or EMAIL all entries to: NYCOM, Attn: Essay Contest, 119, Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12210 | EMAIL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. STUDENT'S NAME AND NAME OF SCHOOL MUST BE LOCATED ON EACH ESSAY OR THE ESSAY WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.


  • Essays will be judged on the What, Why and How, along with creativity, originality, development of actions, clarity, sincerity of thought and proper use of grammar.
  • Three winning essays will be selected and awarded (first place will receive $150, second place $75 and third place $50).
  • All three winners will be highlighted on the NYCOM website and in our Municipal Matters magazine.
  • The first place winner along with their parents, teacher and mayor will be invited to and recognized at our Annual Meeting on Sunday, May 3rd.
  • The first place winner will receive an overnight stay at the Sagamore Hotel on Sunday, May 3rd.
  • All students whose essays make it to the final round will receive an "Honorable Mention" certificate.


When writing your essay, make sure you state:

  • WHAT you want to do
  • WHY you want to do it
  • HOW you are going to get it done (include real and legal sources for money, grants, funding, etc.)

Below you will find some of the things that mayors can and cannot do. Please use them to guide you when choosing your What, Why and How. Please make sure your students DO NOT refer to their village or city as a town in their essay.  Because this essay contest is not open to towns, those essays will automatically be disqualified.


  • Lead and collaborate on the building of municipal projects (buildings, roads, parks, neighborhoods/communities, public housing).
  • Promote and implement shared services (working together) with other governments.
  • Apply for grants from the state or federal government to make parks nicer, roads wider and sidewalks safer (you must specify actual grants available from the state or federal government).
  • Work with the legislative branch (city council or village board of trustees) to decide how the city or village should spend its money.
  • Make local laws (stop people from littering or speeding).
    Manage city and village employees (police officers, firefighters, building inspectors).
  • Adopt resolutions to implement day-to-day operations of the city or village (transfer money from one account to another, mayor-for- a-day, park dedication).


  • Build private structures (build/run a store or restaurant).
    Intrude on parental rights (un-ground you, increase your allowance).
  • Accept, give away or loan public money or resources (gifts, prizes, buildings, private transportation and meals, favors).
  • Interfere with school rules - NYC excluded (lunch, recess, homework, teacher pay, safety, school hours).
  • Infringe on Constitutionally protected rights (freedom of speech, freedom of religion).
  • Take or purchase an abandoned building (must follow a required process)


  • Visit NYCOM’s Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.
  • Download this PowerPoint presentation  (pdf) - this will provide a better understanding of New York State local government and the role of a Mayor.
  • Read your local newspaper – this is a good place to learn about current events in your municipality.
  • Ask your mayor or other local officials to come and talk to your class about what they do.
  • Find your city or village website on the NYCOM website.


We would appreciate the help of mayors and schools in promoting the essay contest in the following ways:

  • POSTER - Reproduce and display this poster (legal size).
  • ENTRY FORM/BROCHURE - Reproduce and share this brochure (double-sided).
  • SOCIAL MEDIA and/or WEBSITE – Promote this contest link and tag us.
  • POWERPOINT (pdf) - Download this presentation to assist in the dialogue between local officials, teachers, and students.

If you would like hard copies of these materials, please contact the NYCOM office and we will be happy to mail them to you.



  • FIRST PLACE: Winslow Ryan - Village of Southampton
  • SECOND PLACE: Bella Gambino - Village of New Paltz
  • THIRD PLACE: Viviane Kim - Village of Port Jefferson

VIEW award-winning essays (close to 50 participating schools - nearly 1,000 essays)


  • FIRST - Sofia Loyer, Village of New Paltz
  • SECOND - Adina Sasson, Village of Pelham
  • THIRD - Maggie Sansone, City of New York 

VIEW award-winning essays
(Over 60 participating schools - 1,100 essays submitted)


  • FIRST - Ryan Dunn, Village of Babylon
  • SECOND - Sumanya Janapareddy, City of Buffalo
  • THIRD - Ella Costantino, City of Saratoga Springs

VIEW award-winning essays.
(50 participating schools-1,300 essays submitted).

2017 Award Winners

  • FIRST - Aracely Watson, Village of New Paltz
  • SECOND  - Juliet Lucci, City of Yonkers 
  • THIRD - Lily Gaffney, City of Hornell

VIEW award-winning essays.
(60 participating schools -730 essays submitted.


CONTACT This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.