High school senior Augie Seuffert looked around the full circle in the school’s library, seeing mostly his peers and politicians. He offered his reflection.
“I came in here thinking I was going to be talked to by a bunch of politicians on issues, and they actually asked me about the issues,” Augie said.
Sitting next to the Greenfield High School senior happened to be his mother, Precinct 6 Greenfield City Councilor Sheila Gilmour — one of the politicians gathered for an afternoon centered around youth leadership, but based on giving an opportunity to just over a dozen students to exchange ideas about political and social issues with their local and state elected officials.
“It’s the last day of my first week, and I feel like I just got the biggest gift,” state Sen. Jo Commerford, D-Northampton, said to everyone. “We should flip the paradigm; people should talk and we should listen.”
Joining Commerford for the couple hours at the DIAL/SELF Youth & Community Services program, with the Greenfield High School students and a handful of students from Great Falls Middle School in Turners Falls, was: state Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, and Greenfield City Councilors Tim Dolan, Isaac Mass, Verne Sund, Otis Wheeler and Gilmour. Greenfield Public Schools Superintendent Jordana Harper and School Committee Chairwoman Adrienne Nunez also joined in.
“I heard really great questions and considerations about these very complex issues and a real understanding that these issues are multi-dimensional,” Nunez said.