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As a lifelong resident of Brighton, Elizabeth Zappala has grown very fond of her community. Living in the house her mother grew up in with her parents and younger twin sisters has provided Elizabeth with the feeling of a great familial bond to the neighborhood. Early on, she felt connected to her community by attending elementary school at Our Lady of Presentation School, where many relatives had attended and her aunt taught. The familiarity of her small school was lost when she decided to attend Boston Latin School for the seventh grade. Moving from a graduating class of 14 to a school which had more seventh graders alone than her entire elementary school, was a huge change. Elizabeth adapted quickly and began to love the rigorous workload at Latin. Soon after entering Boston Latin, Elizabeth was drawn back to her old school and drawn into public service. Our Lady of Presentation was going to be closed due to lack of funding and loss of students. The school had been an important part of her childhood which she did not want to see lost. Elizabeth learned about community involvement as she participated in protests to prevent the school’s closing. When the school was officially closed, Elizabeth felt a need to get more involved in her community in order to stay connected and also to begin participating in her new school.

Elizabeth has been a member of the Scalzi School of Dance competitive dance team for over 10 years. At Boston Latin she became involved in student government through the Student Council. Elizabeth helped to found the Renaissance Club which works to promote school spirit and school involvement. Though a small club, it has been able to reward students for achievements in the classroom through the Smart Cookies program. More recently Elizabeth has become a member of BLS Model United Nations. Though only joining this past year, Elizabeth found a love for debate and learning about government on an international level, and will be president of the club next year. Elizabeth is also highly involved with the Boston Latin School Girl’s Group and was inducted to the National Honor Society in the winter of her junior year.

Outside of school, Elizabeth found a program which would allow her to learn not only about her community but explore the workings of government. During her sophomore year, Elizabeth became a Brian J. Honan Fellow. Through the program, Elizabeth was able to develop her leadership skills and became passionate about bringing about change in her community. Elizabeth also had the opportunity to intern for the Communications Director for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, where she developed her communications skills and an interest in media. Her participation in the Honan Fellowship led her to apply for the Mayor’s Youth Council. Now in her second year as a representative for Allston-Brighton, Elizabeth is able to learn about the needs of youth in her community and what change is necessary. Elizabeth loves being able to interact with youth from her area and working with representatives from throughout the city.

After taking AP U.S. History as well as AP U.S. Government and Politics during her junior year, Elizabeth learned she had a true passion for government. She felt that the John William Ward Fellowship would allow her to learn more about government and to have a powerful impact on others through public service. Elizabeth wanted to learn about more than just her local community and felt the Fellowship would allow her to explore government and public service on a whole new level. Elizabeth will spend the summer working in Governor Deval Patrick’s Office in Constituent Services. Elizabeth loves the work she is doing because she is interacting with the people of Massachusetts on a daily basis and learning about the issues first hand.

Elizabeth is unsure about her plans for the future. As she enters her senior year at Boston Latin, Elizabeth is trying to decide where she would like to attend college. She would like to study political science and communications at the school which is the best fit for her. Elizabeth’s maxim for life is ‘everything happens for a reason’, and believes the college process will work out this way as well. After college, Elizabeth is open to the possibility of law school and hopes to travel.  She believes her participation in the Ward Fellowship will prepare her with the skills to be successful in the formative years ahead.