Members of the Twenty-First Century Democracy classes were given the assignment to spend the election cycle working the polls and campaigning for the candidates of their choice. Caroline Simon ’17, one of many Twenty-First Century Democracy students who campaigned for a local representative in Fairfield, said, “While the work, at times, seemed tedious, phone-banking allowed me to learn about the issues people in my town care about as well as the role state government plays in our lives.” Simon said she enjoyed the assignment because it allowed students to “see a deeper view of the role [that] state and local governments play and how that can often be overshadowed by national news.”
Eli Sabin ’18 and Ed Martin ’18, two other Twenty-First Century Democracy students, both campaigned by going door-to-door. Students were able to use this assignment to see the government in action. Sabin ’18, who campaigned for Democratic State Representative, James Albis of East Haven, explained, “Every time I volunteered, I knocked on doors and talked to prospective voters. I asked people if they were supporting my candidate or if they had any questions. Overall, it was a gratifying experience and strengthened my belief that the government can and should be shaped by the people it represents.”
Martin ’18 enjoyed his time campaigning and explained his trial and error process: “Most of my times were spent going door to door, and although there weren’t many people who answered the doors, it was exciting to talk to those who did. For the most part, people were happy and ready to vote. Being able to volunteer for a campaign that I support is a simple way to voice my political opinion.”
Other students who were not necessarily in Twenty-First Century Democracy classes went out to support their community by fundraising for the Connecticut Food Bank. Hopkins students took to the streets and went to stores all over Connecticut with grade representatives on Student Council. Overtime, this Canned Food Drive has become a grade wide challenge to volunteer for the most hours and to raise the most amount of money.
One of the main organizers of weekly fundraising, Sophomore Class President Sam Jenkins ’19, commented, “Fundraising for the CT Food Bank is an important part of Hopkins because every time someone thanks us for what we are doing or tells us how the Food Bank saved them, you can see and feel the impact we are making one hour at a time.... Giving back to the community by helping those less fortunate than us is rewarding, eye opening, and often fun task.”
Freshman Class President Katherine Takoutes ’20 added: “It’s important for people to fundraise because we get to see another aspect of the [Hopkins] community, which we often do not get to see.”
Fundraising for the Connecticut Food Bank has become, for many Hopkins Students, an essential part of the holiday season.
One member of the Twenty-First Century Democracy classes, Simon ’17, is also the Vice President of the Student Council and has been fundraising throughout her high school career. She explained that, “the most memorable parts of the CFD are when people notice Hopkins students being involved with community service. Whether an email from Hopkins faculty about how great it is to see Chapel Street filled with fundraisers or an Assembly speaker talking about conversations he had with Hopkins fundraisers, I know that our hard work pays off.”
Thom Peters, Hopkins’ archivist and History teacher, said that students enjoyed the mandatory assignment for Twenty-First Century Democracy. Peters reacted to volunteering as a whole saying, “There is no substitute for doing. This assignment encourages our students to do.”