Former teacher takes students out of classroom and into world of politics through campaign

Former+teacher+takes+students+out+of+classroom+and+into+world+of+politics+through+campaign

By Evan Lu and Emma Clarke, Staff Reporters

Now conducting her campaign for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the 168th District, Ciamacca retired last school year after 19 years in the district. However, instead of enlisting professionals as interns for her campaign, she recruited high schoolers and former students, many from Conestoga.  

Although the Ciamacca campaign officially began on Sept. 14, the campaign’s six high school interns, or “Ciamacca Fellows,” began preparing the campaign over the summer. While it may be unconventional for Ciamacca to enlist the help of high school students, she sees their age as mutually beneficial.  

“High school students will work for the experience and they have a lot of energy that they bring to the campaign. When people see a lot of energy around you, they tend to emulate that and so having that energy from high school students really gives me some push,” Ciamacca said.  

Ciamacca said she believes that, with the emphasis on STEM subjects in school, government can sometimes appear mundane to students in a classroom, and she wanted to give them an opportunity to see what the political sphere entails. Ciamacca herself attributes her first interest in politics to working as an intern for Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign in 1976.

For senior John Castleman, who did not have Ciamacca as a teacher, working in the familiar environment of Ciamacca’s campaign has been a stepping-stone into the political world.  

“(The campaign) aligns with something I want to do after school, like I want to major in something with politics, so I thought this would be a good way to get involved and get experience in this field before college and other internships,” Castleman said.  

The interns get a broad view of the political sphere as they are brought onto the campaign, but Ciamacca also lets the Ciamacca Fellows individually experience different parts of a political campaign through rotating their roles in the campaign.  

“One intern is going to be writing articles to go in our newsletter. Another person is going to be doing policy research. I go door to door almost every single day, so another intern is going to come around with me once a week and help me while I knock on doors, hand out literature, write down what people are saying to me,” Ciamacca said.  

Interns may also help organize fundraising events for the campaign, such as a pancake breakfast, hayride or open-mic night. After spending a month on each task, the interns will rotate tasks in order to get a full scope of a political campaign. 

According to senior and intern Yuna Han, the different tasks of the campaign are also monitored by college students and adults.  

“What I’m doing right now is I’m working with a Conestoga graduate and Harvard student, Jahnavi Rao, on social media. So we are posting on the campaign Instagram and wording the captions and Instagram stories,” Han said.  

Despite Ciamacca’s busy schedule as she works to promote her campaign, Ciamacca maintains direct connections with her helpers.   

“She’s really involved with all levels of our campaign,” Castleman said. 

Ciamacca continues to welcome hardworking people from any background. So far, she has accepted every fellow that has applied for the position by filling out the registration form.  

After all, “government isn’t a spectator sport,” Ciamacca said.