East Hampton Village Mayor Paul Rickenbach honored John Marshall Elementary School fourth-grader Michael Hill as “Mayor for the Day” at Village Hall on Friday, December 20.
At the Village Board’s monthly meeting on Friday, Mayor Rickenbach read a proclamation and Michael gave a speech in front of family and friends. The youngster then led the Pledge of Allegiance and shared a microphone with his co-mayor Rickenbach during the meeting.
Mayor Rickenbach was inspired to create the special honor after meeting Michael at a Project MOST event last year. During a visit with the kids in the after school program, Michael told Rickenbach he wanted to be mayor one day, just like him. He was so impressed by Michael’s personality that he began following his progress in school, and eventually asked the Project MOST team if it would be possible to make him mayor for a day.
“We’ve never done it before, but I think we’re going to make it an annual thing,” Project MOST Executive Director Tim Bryden said. “It was a great, great ceremony,” he added, noting that Friday’s event helped make the fourth grader’s dreams come true. Michael has been attending Project MOST, which provides after-school supervision in a learning environment, at John Marshal since kindergarten.
“Anyone who knows Michael knows he is the warmest, most personable kid you’ll ever want to meet,” Bryden said, pointing out that his academic strengths are in math, social studies and science.
East Hampton School District Superintendent Rich Burns and Hill’s teachers also attested to his quality of character and joyful disposition.
For his part, Hill said he would like to be the full-time mayor one day and he promised to lead responsibly. “I would like to thank you for having me here today and for this honor,” he said. “As mayor for the day, I promise to be responsible and care about the community,” Michael continued, adding, “Whatever you need, you can count on me.”
Project MOST says an estimated 600,000 children are without adult supervision in the after school hours. Their program, which gives kids an additional three hours to learn after school, is an alternative to this complex social problem. Bryden said 36 percent of John Marshall students are staying after school for Project MOST, and they have similar attendance at Springs School.
On Sunday, March 9, from 12-3 p.m., Project MOST is hosting “Empty Bowls,” an event that brings the community together to sample soups from some 20 local chefs—all you have to do is bring an empty bowl. Admission for Empty Bowls (at the East Hampton American Legion) is $12 and all proceeds will benefit Project MOST’s community greenhouse program at Springs School.