Lake View Elementary third-grader takes on role as principal for a day


As Mehmet Emre, 9, got ready for school Wednesday morning, he knew he needed to look good. He opted against a T-shirt and instead selected a turquoise dress shirt with a blue polka dot bow tie.

Unlike most days where the third-grader would head to class to learn from his teachers, he was among 12 students who were selected to role play during Lake View Elementary’s Staff Member of the Day. Students took on jobs including principal, office manager, receptionist, custodian, health tech and teacher.

For the record:

8:09 p.m. March 29, 2023

An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled Mehmet Emre’s first name.

Before Principal Jamie Goodwyn passed on the baton to Mehmet, she took him into her office to provide him with a walkie-talkie, badge and clipboard with the day’s itinerary.

“Our job is to make people happy, friendly and comfortable,” Goodwyn told Mehmet. “It’s important to wish them a good day and provide them with an overview.”

That same day the Huntington Beach school was hosting the Junior Achievement of Orange County, a group of volunteers that would teach students how to balance a checking account and how to market products, it would be Mehmo’s duty to greet them.

Even so, the student didn’t show any fear in his role as he walked into the busy lounge and began introducing himself and shaking hands with teachers, parents and the volunteer staff.

He welcomed them and wished them “a wonderful day” before everyone headed to their assigned activities.

Once the bell rang Mehmet walked up and down the school halls with Goodwyn, reminding students to “walk fast” and get to class. When students asked him questions he didn’t know how to answer, Mehmet used his walkie-talkie to contact office manager Ryan Keel for help.

Nearly an hour into his role, he headed back to his office to give the announcements of the day over the intercom with the help of two Student Council representatives.

Mehmet informed the school of their visitors and reminded them of the Engineering and Rocket Night later that evening.

Greeting guests and speaking on the intercom was the “best part” for the third-grader.

“I like seeing new faces and I wanted to look nice because what if these people have children, they might want to come here because they think it’s fun,” Mehmet said during a quick break before he did a walk-through of classrooms, looking for good behavior and checking the campus for any safety issues.

Though he aspires to be a scientist or doctor, Mehmet said he hopes being principal for a day inspires his family and peers.

Goodwyn said the activity allowed students to see a “small glimpse into an adult’s daily life” and see how careers can involve hard work and fun.

“It was a joy to watch the children display such passion as they took over their role’s responsibilities,” said Goodwyn. “They truly became the professionals and understood the impact that their role had on their school.”

Twitter: @vegapriscella