Next Gen Voices, Newton North’s civic engagement club, held Local Government Day on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, in collaboration with the NNHS Center for Civic Engagement and Service.
Explained club members, "We believe that students should be educated about the importance, versatility, and diversity of issues handled by our local government so that they can be more involved in its processes. Knowledge about local government is crucial to civic engagement and, most importantly, is fascinating and engaging. Our goal in hosting Local Government Day is to inspire students to get involved in their local democracy and inspire them to take action to make life in their community better."
In addition to setting up informational tables on Main Street, Next Gen Voices arranged panels in the Little Theater, with a student moderator asking questions generated by the club, along with audience questions. The schedule was as follows:
B block panel: Newton School Committee
- Students got a chance to ask questions about determining the curriculum, budget, as well as other school policies.
- Speakers Superintendent David Fleishman, Ward Representatives Margaret Albright and Anping Shen, and student member Serena Jampel (NNHS ‘20).
C block panel: Newton City Commissions
- Students had the opportunity to learn what a commission is and how they can get involved, as well as the inner workings of City Hall.
- Speakers: Bryan Barash from the Newton Human Rights Commission, Brianna Spiegel (NNHS ‘20) from Newton Youth Commission, and a representative from Newton City Hall.
D block: Tables on Main Street
- Students spoke with representatives from Green Newton, League of Women Voters, Rock the Vote, clubs from NNHS, and other local advocacy groups.
- Eligible students could also register to vote.
E block panel: Newton City Council
- Students got a chance to ask questions about working in local government and about current local issues
- Speakers: Mayor Fuller and City Councilors Susan Albright, Brenda Noel, and Emily Norton.