Noah Kassis: Urging Northampton residents to attend Town Hall, engage in discourse

  • Northampton City Hall. FILE PHOTO

Published: 2/11/2019 8:23:30 AM

In her column titled “The value of kids’ voices,” state Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa got it just right: The best way to get young people, especially teenagers, civically engaged is to let them lead. As a student-elected, student-run, policy-focused group, the Northampton High School Student Union knows exactly why it is so important to have students and youth civically engaged, and more importantly, civically excited. Without youth making their voices loud and clear, the change that young people want will never come.

However, in addition to leading and speaking out, youth need to listen. In order to get anything done in the systems of power we live in, we need to be well-informed and well-connected. Whenever the Student Union wants to get anything done, our first step is to share our ideas and listen. We bring up the issue with the principal, teachers, the school board and anyone else we might want to talk with, and we listen to others’ concerns. Change follows a process, from debating issues as a group and surveying students about their views to brainstorming solutions with the administration and writing extensive reports to present to the faculty, school council, PTO and school committee.

What it boils down to, however, is dialogue, the very idea on which the Student Union was built. Through listening, staying aware and working cooperatively, we’re able to effect lasting change, such as making our school’s AP testing policy more accessible to those of all needs.

The Student Union’s belief in open, cooperative discourse and civic engagement is why we urge everyone who lives in Northampton to attend the Town Hall with state legislators Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa and Sen. Jo Comerford at the Northampton High School auditorium from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 15th. This youth-organized, youth-led event is a unique, important opportunity for people of all ages and levels of civic engagement to interact with their representatives and ask them important questions. Only through engaging in honest discourse with our government can we be effective changemakers.

Noah Kassis, 10th-grader at Northampton High School, on behalf of the Northampton High School Student Union

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