Carnegie mayor selects child to light borough tree
By Megan Guza
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Eddie Wilson loves Batman, Scooby Doo and swimming, and he will play “Angry Birds” on his mother's cellphone for hours.
He also likes firetrucks and Santa — two things he will get to combine Friday night, when Santa arrives in Carnegie on a firetruck.
Friday will be special for other reasons, too.
The Carnegie Elementary first-grader has been chosen to light the borough tree Friday at Carnegie's annual Light Up Night.
“He'll be excited,” said Eddie's father, Ken, a lifelong Carnegie resident. “He'll probably be jumping up and down and waving his hands.”
Eddie, 7, is in autistic-support classes at Carnegie and falls into the autism spectrum of disorders.
“He doesn't really understand that he's going to get to do this,” Ken said. “We can tell him, but it will be just another day. Once we get there, he'll be excited, but it makes it rough; you want to see him be excited about it all week.”
The honor was bestowed upon Eddie by Carnegie mayor Jack Kobistek, who each year chooses a child to light the tree.
“To me, that's what Christmas is all about,” he said. “To have a young child light the tree — that's what they get excited about.”
Eddie will be honored with a special proclamation read at school Friday morning. He also will be declared mayor for the day and will get to wear a medal to that effect. The proclamation will be read again at Light Up Night.
Like most 7-year-olds, Eddie fights with his sister, Carlynton seventh-grader Kayla Wilson, an honors student who received an arts scholarship last year.
Their mother, Gretchen, called them her “celebrity children.”
Eddie also likes school — he loves riding the bus, Gretchen said — and he loves technology.
“He's very technology driven,” she said. “He helps other kids at school with the computer.”
Since he became mayor four years ago, Kobistek has chosen a special-needs student to light the tree rather than do it himself.
“I think that it's very pure to see the true excitement and true innocence they bring to the task,” he said. “Christmas is such a special time of year, and children with special needs are really a gift.”
Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or email@example.com.
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