LHS Student participates in esteemed Democracy Summer Program


Courtesy of Genevieve Ballatt

Genevieve Ballat (second to right) is pictured with fellow interns and Jamie Raskin (center).

by Mack Mullinix, Editor

While most highschoolers may find politics uninteresting, other students find novel ways to participate. One of those students is Genevieve Ballatt, who participated in the Democracy Summer Program.

The Democracy Summer Program is a six-week internship opportunity from June 30 to July 31, perfect for students interested in local politics. The purpose of the program is to teach young people the skills needed to work with others, create campaigns and discuss different issues.

Jamie Raskin, current congressman of Maryland’s eighth district, founded the program which went nationwide in 2021. Ballatt was one of the students selected to learn from and work with Raskin.

The theme of Democracy Summer 2022’s curriculum was “Political Democracy and its Enemies.” There were readings and presentations about white supremacy and political democracy, the January 6 attacks, historic and contemporary struggles for voting rights, fascism and totalitarianism, and proposed changes to strengthen democratic process in the future. 

Ballatt is pictured alongside Congresswoman Spanberger. (Courtesy of Genevieve Ballatt)

Students got to listen to many great political minds online–due to Covid–and in-person overe the summer. None grabbed Ballat more than Abigail Spanberger, a congresswoman from Virginia, who she got to canvas for.

“I’m happy and thankful I had the opportunity to interact with her. It was inspirational to see a woman in congress,” said Ballatt.

Students this year had a lot more hands-on work in their internships. Raskin, along with the aforementioned Spanberger, had the interns help in their campaigns.

“Raskin was always super busy because of his upcoming bid for reelection, but we still got to interact with him a lot,” said Ballatt.

Students also got to interact with the likes of Elise Bryant and Michael Anderson when doing their twice-a-week lessons related to the core curriculum of the internship.

Alongside performing some electioneering activities and phone-banking, Ballatt got to participate in the 4th of July parade and enjoy some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream afterward. 

“It was definitely a blast. I recommend anyone interested [in politics] definitely check it out … next summer,” said Ballatt.

Students who want to participate can look further into the requirements and activities on Raskin’s website. Though it is important to note that Raskin no longer represents parts of Frederick County and the Linganore school district, meaning students would more likely work with fellow Democrat David Trone instead.