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Linda Mah
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Mayor Tells First Graders to ’Read!’

Bobby Hopewell Met with Arcadia Elementary Students

Cherise Ward’s first-grade class was studying about leaders, so she invited one of Kalamazoo best known leaders to stop by Arcadia Elementary to talk about his work.

Mayor Bobby Hopewell, who graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School, visited Ward’s class in December to answer questions from students, such as Ella Denaway, who wanted to know how long Hopewell had been mayor — 10 years — and Tony Boyd, who wanted to know what the mayor does at work.

“I meet people, sign papers, make laws, learn from other mayors,” Hopewell said.

Brooklyn Klok wanted to know, “Do you have a boss at your job?”

“I have about 74,000 bosses, those are the people who placed me in this job by voting,” Hopewell said. “I’m responsible to all 74,000 people that live in Kalamazoo. They all have different opinions.”

Other questions included who helps him at his job, where does he work, and “Do people come to your office to ask questions?”

Marcus Mills asked the mayor, “What do you like to do for fun?”

Hopewell said he likes to eat, ride his bike, go to movies, and read comic books.

And, he said, “I have some of the best friends in the universe and I love spending time with them and my family.”

As he wrapped up his visit, Hopewell took a few minutes to encourage students to do their best in school — and to especially do their best at reading.

“If you can’t read or if you don’t work hard to read, you can’t be mayor. You can’t fly a plane. You won’t be able to be a doctor or a lawyer if you can’t read,” he said. “It doesn’t mean you can’t achieve, but it makes it harder if you can’t read.

“Dive into this stuff. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t. I believe in you and you need to believe in yourself.”
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