Mayor heads to elementary school

By Joshua Baethge
For the Van Alstyne Leader
Mayor Jim Atchison took on Partin Elementary School this week for a local government lesson.

Van Alstyne Mayor Jim Atchison faced a tough crowd at Partin Elementary School last Friday afternoon. Third graders who have been studying government peppered him with a wide range of hard-hitting questions about issues facing the city today.  

Among the topics students wanted to discuss were what being a mayor is like, who gets to put people in jail, and when will Van Alstyne get a CiCi’s Pizza restaurant. In the interest of time, only students with teacher-authorized pre-written notecards were supposed to ask questions.  However multiple students went rogue and began asking unapproved questions in rapid succession. Some even began telling the mayor about their own families and experiences. 

Teachers ultimately managed to regain some level of control over the situation and Atchison seemed unfazed.  In fact, he later remarked that the barrage of questions was actually more interesting than those he typically gets to answer. 

Third-grade teacher Haley Murch said that her students had been excited about seeing the mayor all week. When the big day arrived, they could hardly contain themselves. 

Mayor Jim Atchison took on Partin Elementary School this week for a local government lesson.

 “There was no point in teaching anything else today because they kept asking what time he was coming,” she said. “He’s a celebrity to them” 

In addition to taking questions, Atchison talked about the various parts of government, from the city council and the library to first responders and public works.  He said that he enjoyed the chance to talk with students, and hoped that he could give them just a little better understanding of what it is like to help run a city.