Massachusetts State Treasurer Steven Grossman, a potential Democratic candidate in the 2014 race for governor, traveled today to a Berkshire County elementary school, where he joined state and local officials to present an award to a first-grader.
Grossman joined state and local officials and the Massachusetts School Building Authority at Crosby Elementary School in Pittsfield to congratulate first grader Esha Zahid for being a regional winner of the 7th Annual My Ideal School Contest. The officials came to Pittsfield after Zahid could not make the trip to Boston for a formal ceremony last month.
The first grader was one of 12 regional winners of the contest, in which young students were required to submit a drawing and essay describing their ideal school. More than 2,500 entries were submitted across the state. Zahid was presented with a $100 savings bond from contest-sponsor Sovereign Bank.
"I feel like I'm so rich from getting $100," said Zahid.
Grossman, who serves as Chairman of the Board of the Massachusetts School Buildings Authority, a quasi-public agency created by the legislature that works with communities to repair and improve schools, said that the contest serves as a way to get young students interested in the way creativity can play a role in their future educational career.
“The arts matter enormously, creative writing matters enormously, the creative impulse. Science, technology, engineering, math, all critical - but I want creative thinkers," said Grossman.
MSBA Executive Director Jack McCarthy said that the while the My Ideal School Contest focused on very young students, the organization is also asking high school students for their input on how they would like to see schools improve.
"I've actually started working with a group from the John D. O'Bryant school in Boston and they've come up with their ideal classroom and I'm going to get them in front of the designers that we deal with everyday to pitch their ideas to them," said McCarthy. "Some of those ideas will probably end up being in future schools."
For the past eight years, Pittsfield school administrators and other elected officials have been working with the MSBA on a plan to redevelop the city’s Taconic High School. State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier said that students the Treasurer met at Crosby may one day attend school at a newly-renovated Taconic.
"I think Team Pittsfield is going to come through and we're going to have that school eventually," said Farley-Bouvier.
Grossman said he is strongly considering a run for governor in 2014, when incumbent Deval Patrick will step aside. Grossman said his travels from Boston help him build grass-roots relationships.
“I think the most important thing that you want to offer the citizens is having done a good job in the job you have now. The people of the Berkshires voted very strongly to support me when I ran for treasurer in 2010, so I want to do a good job as treasurer and make sure their resources are managed and we spend every dime of taxpayers' money wisely," said Grossman. "At some point in the not too distant future we'll move to a another level but right now it's about building relationships."