When speaking with residents of Haverhill and Methuen, one remark always gets brought up about my candidacy, my age. Often it is a positive comment. "We need fresh ideas in the State House" "I love when young people take such a government interest." One word, in particular, caught me off guard because I had never been asked that question before. How did you get involved in public service at such a young age?
I had to pause when this resident asked me the question. It wasn't because someone in my family had been an elected official in the past. It wasn't because my parents had always been involved in politics. Finally, I recalled when I knew public service was a path I wanted to pursue. It all started when I was a senior in High School. My class had just found out that our graduation was at the Tsongas Center in Lowell instead of Methuen High school.
The school administration made this decision without input from the graduating class. This upset some students looking forward to graduating on their home football field. I could have cared less about where we graduated. I was enjoying my last few months of school and focusing on the upcoming baseball season. That opinion soon changed when people approached me to voice their displeasure about not having a say in the decision.
As their Class President, I decided that something had to be done. Two friends and I sent an email to the then Superintendent of Schools voicing our displeasure about the situation and asking her to reconsider. She politely refused. At that point, the three of us met to discuss our next move. We decided to speak to the City Council to plead our case to them. The three of us talked about our desire to have a voice on where our graduation would take place. After we spoke, it was decided that the graduation would take place in Methuen.
I remember hearing the news while in school, and I was excited that we had won and would be graduating in Methuen. Yet, it wasn't just the thrill of victory that had me excited. It was that I, along with my two friends, had represented our class and fought to make a change. It wasn't easy, and we didn't know if we'd be successful, yet we did it anyway because we knew it was the right thing to do. At that point, I knew that I wanted to pursue a job in public service to help those who don't or can't advocate for themselves and give them a voice.