Godwin student shadows Spanberger in D.C.

Mar 29, 2019
In the News


A Godwin High School student was one of four winners of an essay contest sponsored by U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger, and he shadowed Spanberger March 27 in Washington, D.C.

Godwin High School senior Jerry Zhang’s essay in response to the question “What does civic engagement mean to you?” told the story of how he unintentionally wandered into a session at his local library on educational inequity and classroom diversity. His interest was hooked, and half a year later Zhang was attending similar sessions as a student representative on a school district equity and diversity committee.

Zhang and fellow essay contest winner Abigail Kaikkonen of Cosby High School attended several events as part of their day with Spanberger, including a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a German American Business Council Roundtable, and MAZON’s 11th Annual National Hunger Seder March.

Zhang hopes to continue conducting research and having conversations with members of his community to understand the roots of educational inequality in Central Virginia and envision creative solutions.

“Students like Jerry and Abigail make me so proud to serve the Seventh District,” Spanberger said. “Our communities in Central Virginia are home to so many driven, talented, and service-minded young people. Yesterday, I heard firsthand about how these students are working to strengthen their communities through service for others. These students show that we should anticipate strong and dedicated leadership from the next generation of Central Virginians.”

In April, the other two winners of the essay contest (Marguerite Yates and Ella Mortimer) will shadow Spanberger and her team in Henrico.


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