Killeen Mayor Visits Second-Graders

By: Todd Martin
The second-graders did their homework going into their visit with the mayor of Killeen and his wife.

One student wanted to know what the “L” stands for in Mayor Jose L. Segarra’s name. It’s Luis.

The mayor and his wife Laura visited with Clifton Park Elementary School second-graders Friday, explaining the importance of community involvement and encouraging children to read lots and to study hard.

While the top elected official in the city of Killeen mentioned roads, parks and public safety, he said he most enjoyed talking about dreams.

“Sometimes, when people grow up they forget to dream,” he said to the assembly of children.

When asked, students told the mayor they dreamed of running for mayor, driving a tank, being a baker or a scientist or president of the United States.

“You can do it,” Segarra encouraged the students.

As a child, the mayor said he wanted to be an artist, but somewhere along the way he went a different direction. His younger brother, though, pursued that creative dream and now works animating movies.

Answering questions and informing students of city government and community involvement, Segarra said that you just need to be 18 years old to run for mayor in Killeen, the same minimum age to vote.

The couple both urged students to register to vote and cast ballots in city, state and national elections when they come of age in about 10 years.

Second-grade teacher Eliza Guerra said the Segarras visit served as part of the students’ social studies unit about public officials and voting.

The visit, she said, was a powerful one that brought the academic lessons to life.

Second-graders conducted a mock election using different flavors of cookies, debating the merits of each kind before choosing a favorite.

Similarly, the mayor said, local candidates take part in debates to provide varying opinions on important issues so residents came make informed choices at the polls.

Answering other questions, Segarra said he was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Chicago. He and his wife said they enjoyed attending community events and meeting a variety of residents.

Responding to another question, the pair said that when the weather gets cold, the city opens shelters to help protect citizens stuck outside, explaining the importance of protecting those in need.

Tying in the work of a mayor to the importance of school and citizenship, Segarra urged students to read a lot and to do their best to get along with people and to look for ways to serve.