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The History of Women Mayors at Boys Town

What is a teachable moment? It's learning through family. That's what Boys Town provides to tens of thousands of children and parents everyday. And that's what we'll focus on here. Stories of those who we've seen succeed, and ideas on how to help bring Teachable Moments to your home and family, too.

The History of Women Mayors at Boys Town
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by Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History

tags: Boys Town History

The History of Women Mayors at Boys Town

In 1926, Father Edward Flanagan created the Boys Town Mayor system to help run the village. He believed the boys should have a say in their community and it would help the boys to learn how to get along with each other. But after several months, Father Flanagan realized the Home was not ready yet for the mayor system. By 1936, Father Flanagan felt the boys were ready once again to try the mayoral system. It proved successful and operated for many years.

As the Boys Town Family Home Program was implemented in the late 1970s, the mayoral system was discontinued for several years. By the time the mayoral system was re-instated, young ladies had become citizens of Boys Town. In May 1991, Sarah Williamson was elected the first girl mayor of Boys Town.

Over the years, other young ladies have been recognized by their peers and elected mayor of Boys Town. In 1999, the first female Native American was elected. Rosette Mitexi Stabler came to Boys Town from the Omaha Indian reservation. At first she was shy in her new surroundings, but soon discovered the many benefits of being a resident of the Home.

Rosette said, “Being mayor gave me an opportunity to be a voice for the students…I thoroughly enjoyed being in a leadership positon.”

After leaving Boys Town, Rosette went on to receive a doctorate in occupational therapy from Creighton University. Her goal was to contribute to her Native American community through her work.

Whether it was serving as mayor or just enjoying hot chocolate with her friends after a Boys Town football game, Rosette always kept her memories of the Home close to her heart.

“I am very grateful for Boys Town and for everything they did for me. I was stuck in a rut and Boys Town helped me to see my strengths and to know that I could reach high goals.”

Students at the Village of Boys Town recently elected its new mayor – A young woman named Jennifer.