The GAAH Press Club interviews Mayor Heartwell in his office at City Hall, and then again at Cook Arts Center a week later.
/Courtesy of GAAH Press Club
The GAAH Press Club and Mayor Heartwell at The Cook Arts Center.
The GAAH Press Club was invited to meet Mayor Heartwell in his office at City Hall, but the mayor had to leave for a family situation shortly after we arrived. He rescheduled for March 23rd, and met the students at The Cook Arts Center to finish their conversation. The Press Club was working on learning the difference between a paraphrase and a direct quote for this article.
He is the one that is determined, he is the one who made his decision, and if you don’t know who I’m talking about, it is Mayor George Heartwell.
On March 16, I went to go visit the mayor at City Hall. I went to ask my question that I was mostly concerned with, “What made you determined to become mayor?” He told me that he was a minister and worked with the homeless. He noticed at the city meetings that the city commissioners were not paying much attention to the homeless. Heartwell said, “If I were a commissioner, I could do the things that need to be done for the homeless people.”
On March 23, he came to the Cook Arts Center and he discussed that he also became mayor to create a better future for his children and grandchildren and throughout time.
It was really fascinating to meet the mayor, George Heartwell. When we first met him in his office on March 16, he did not have a lot of time. However, I asked him, “Do you have to go to different places for something important?” The mayor responded, “Next Tuesday and Wednesday, I am going to Washington D.C., and I am going to meet the president of the U.S. Also, I am going to meet the prime minister of Ireland, and we are going to have a little St. Patrick’s Day party at the White House.”
The mayor came on March 23 to the Cook Arts Center at around 1:00pm. I asked him, “Do you have a problem that you are facing with people this year?” He answered that there was a man that wanted to own an empty school building. The man told the owner that if he bought the school, he would make new apartments. The owner of the school signed the piece of paper. After that, the man said that he was going to put a charter school in the building. The mayor has to vote on this issue soon and he does not know whether to agree or disagree because the man lied.
On March 16, 2012 we went to meet the mayor of Grand Rapids. Sadly, he had an emergency and only had five minutes to speak. He promised that he would meet us here at the Cook Arts Center.
On March 23, 2012 he came to the Cook Arts Center. I asked him, “Why won’t you let immigrants that move into Grand Rapids get good jobs and a good education?” He said, “I absolutely think that we should. In fact, I’ve been a long-time supporter of the Dream Act.” The Dream Act is a bill to help immigrant kids to get into college or in the army or legal jobs. He went on to talk about that people who move into Grand Rapids are more likely to purchase a home, build a business, and be more involved in their neighborhood.
The GAAH Press Club went to the official city hall to meet the mayor, George Heartwell. We went to the mayor’s office on March 16. We went to interview him, but I didn’t ask a question. On the next day, (March 23) that is when I asked a question. I said, “How was your life when you were not a mayor?” He said, “I think I’ve led a very fortunate, happy, blessed life.” He also said he first started in business and then became a minister. He worked with the homeless about 15 years. Next, he worked at Aquinas College by being a teacher for six years. After that, he was a president for Pilgrim Manor, a home for elderly people. Finally, he got voted for mayor, but is still president for Pilgrim Manor.
I thought this interview was very interesting and fun. I think this was already a cool opportunity to meet the mayor because not a lot of people know someone who met the president!
On March 16th, 2012, the winners of the question competition went to go see the mayor of Grand Rapids, Mayor George Heartwell, at his office in City Hall.
What I asked him was, “What was your childhood like before being the mayor of Grand Rapids?” What he told me is that he was raised to be a good person and make right decisions. His family encouraged him in his education, and that they were a religious family. Heartwell also said, “I was very very fortunate in my childhood and in my upbringing.”
I heard other people with interesting questions. I heard some kids ask about immigrants. They also talked about the troubles in Grand Rapids. On March 23, 2012, I also asked him “When I go Student Counsel, I talk with a lot of people and talk about school. Do you have meetings like this? Do you meet other mayors?” He said that he does, and that his favorite group included mayors from Canada and others surrounding the Great Lakes, and that they talked about how to prevent pollution of the lakes.
It was a terrific thing to meet Mayor George Heartwell. I liked meeting the mayor because I learned things. I learned that he does care for our ecosystem because he has meetings with other people and talks about the Great Lakes.
On the 23rd of March, the GAAH Press Club went to meet the mayor. His name was George Heartwell. The other day we met him was March 16th in City Hall.
When I saw him for the first time, I was too nervous to ask a question. Ignacio, Avelycia, Milexis, Antonio, Donny, and Dulce asked questions. The question I asked the second day was “Why did you decide to be mayor?” The mayor answered that he decided to be a mayor because he wanted his grandchildren’s children to have a good city, and he also wanted to help the homeless.
He answered a lot of questions. On the 23rd of March, Avelycia and Ignacio were not there. Donny, Antonio, Milexis, Dulce, and I were there. The mayor got to answer hard questions. Antonio did the most hard questions. The two days were exciting.
The Andy Angelo Press Club, a program of Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities and the GR Creative Youth Center, provides youth in the Grandville Avenue neighborhood with the opportunity to find, develop and share their creative voices and improve their writing skills in a real-world setting while also exploring and experiencing events, cultural institutions, and a variety of other activities in West Michigan. Being a member of the Press Club not only empowers youth by helping them develop their sense of self, but it encourages them to become creative problem solvers, enhances their communication and writing skills, and increases their chances of continuing higher education. The Press Club is also an avenue for raising awareness about local events and happenings that are important to actual members of the local community.