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A principal for an hour

Somerset Elementary School Principal Christopher Kamrath and the 18 winners of his “Principal for an Hour” essay contest pause for a moment in the school library reading nook on Thursday, Jan. 29. (Photo by Sarah Young)

Since beginning as principal at Somerset Elementary this past summer, one of Christopher Kamrath’s goals has been to get to know his students for positive reasons.

As Kamrath said, principals often must engage with students for less than positive reasons, so he decided to hold an essay contest for students in grades 1-4 that focused on the topic “How have you or could you make our school a better place?”

Not only did it go over extremely well at his previous school, but the participation response at Somerset was overwhelming. Almost every student eligible took part, Kamrath said.

While it was difficult to narrow down roughly 650 essays to the winners, Kamrath finally chose 18 top-notch picks. Those students will get to see what Kamrath’s job entails firsthand by being principal for an hour.

“Unfortunately you can’t choose every kid,” Kamrath said. “I wish I could pick all 650 kids we have.”

The winners will get to wear official school badges complete with their photos during their hour-long tenure as principal. The badges will go home with the students as keepsakes. The kids will also get to raid Kamrath’s extensive tie collection if they would like to wear a tie when acting as principal. As Kamrath said “you have to look like a principal.”

While each essay was unique, common themes that popped up were teacher recognition, showing others respect and helping everyone feel like he or she belongs. Kamrath was joyous at the number of ideas his students came up with.

“It will be neat to spend an hour with the kids and hear more of their ideas,” Kamrath said. “A lot of kids have great ideas on things we should do here at school.”

While principal, the winners will get to make the rounds with Kamrath through the building, feed the school’s pet fish and, most exciting to the kids, make an announcement over the intercom system if they so choose.

Student winners include first-graders Justin Hills, Gabrielle Linder, Mason Hahn and Isabelle Amador; second-graders Adam Larse, Grace Parnell, Isabelle DeRosier and Emma Settem; third-graders Dylan Livingston, Ava Young, Wyatt Moss, Paige Turner and Caeden Kreibich; and fourth-graders Taylor Cole, Addisen McGeehan, Isabella Paulson, Jenessa Gazdik and Madison Fox.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in February 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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