Second grade students ask Deputy Mayor Mark Neal questions - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Second grade students ask Deputy Mayor Mark Neal hard hitting questions


Second grade students at Kennedy Primary were filled with excitement when they were greeted by a special visitor Wednesday. South Bend Deputy Mayor Mark Neal stopped in on their class to talk about the government lessons they've been learning. These second graders are learning about the three branches of government, and Deputy Mayor Neal sat down and answered questions about his job and how government works.

Deputy Mayor Neal says he enjoys hearing what kids ask, and the fact that they are so open and honest, it's a breath of fresh air. "They can see it in action by us coming and visiting them, and working with them by building our community together.  I think that's extremely important that [they] see the importance of neighborhoods and what's going on, that they can be a part of that, and they can be a positive force here in South Bend," he says.

The second graders at Kennedy Primary had no fear when it came to putting the new Deputy Mayor on the spot.  Some of those kids were dying to know what it's like on the job.

As the saying goes: Kid's say the darnedest things! Kennedy Primary second grade students had no shame in asking some of the hard hitting questions, like how much does he get paid? Does anybody help the Mayor? Are some days more stressful than others?

Second grader Eavan Kelly asked, "Has there ever been a deputy mayor before you?" and she says, "I'm pretty sure there has been one, but not in maybe over 100 years."
Students at first were confused about the difference between a Mayor and a Deputy Mayor. Dominick Jolley says, "I thought he was the real Mayor. I didn't know he was replacing the Mayor." But other students like Tyler Marek knew a Deputy Mayor was replacing Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Tyler explained, "Cause the real mayor had to leave to go to the USA Military."

Even though it wasn't 'the real mayor' visiting, as the kids have dubbed him, you could still see the excitement in their faces, knowing a big figure was in the classroom. Kelly said, "It's kind of like only something you can do once. It's not like an everyday thing. You get to see him in your classroom with everyone else around him and everyone's so excited." 

The students know very well their classroom got special attention. Marek said, "He could have gone to their classroom... their classroom... their classroom, but he chose ours. I might just go home and tell my parents that we had the mayor in our classroom, and it was kind of like the President."
Kids learned that the Deputy Mayor will be in office till Mayor Pete Buttigieg returns from Afghanistan, but until then, Deputy Mayor Neal said the students can write, email, and even visit him at his new office on the 14th Floor of the County-City Building. Students were so inspired that as soon as the Deputy Mayor left, they got out their pencils and paper, and started to write him.

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