On Sunday, June 11, (D) Candidate for Mayor of Westfield Shelley Brindle and candidates for town council hosted a thank-you brunch for their spring class of 30 Interns. The Interns are all Westfield High School juniors and seniors enrolled in the schools AP (Advanced Placement) Government class and are invested in making a difference at the local level.
Tricia Pizzi, who teaches a section of the class (the second section is taught by Enrico Basso), attended the brunch in support of her students, and said, “This has been an incredible experience for the students. They have been trusted and treated like adults and the fact that they are all still working on the campaigns, even though it’s no longer a class requirement, is a real testament to the candidates.”
Zoe Rader, a WHS senior who will be attending The University of Maryland as a journalism major in the fall, said that working as a Writing Intern for Shelley Brindle’s mayoral campaign has given her a better understanding of local politics.
“The campaign work has definitely connected to the concepts we learned in class,” said Rader. “I have an appreciation for what seemed complicated from the outside. Getting first-hand experience through this internship has been so interesting.”
Rader plans to stay on as an intern with the campaign through the summer, focusing on writing projects that include an intern’s perspective for Brindle’s blog. In fact, all of the ## interns who worked on the mayoral campaign this spring will make volunteering for the campaign a part of their summer plans. The students have created the hashtag #BrindleBrigade to identify themselves and keep local residents engaged on social media.
Shelley Brindle has found herself motivated by this group of young adults.
“We get together with the interns every Monday night for a meeting and pizza, and sometimes I look around and think – this is why I’m doing this. Watching them get inspired by the democratic process and seeing them engaging in their community is truly amazing.”
As mayor, she plans to continue internship programs with students from WHS.
Parents of campaign interns were invited to the brunch, as well. Zoe Rader’s mother Meryl Rader says that it’s been nice to see in-class learning connected to internship work.
“The students have been lucky to work with these candidates. I know that politics isn’t always like this, and it couldn’t be a better fit.”