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Student columnist: It’s good to get involved

WINSTED — If you’ve read the Opinion and Viewpoint pages of this newspaper at any time during the past several weeks, you’ve noticed some new names among the weekly columnists, one of whom only recently graduated high school.Colebrook resident Sage Hahn, 18, graduated Northwestern Regional High School this year and will soon be off to college at Bennington College in Vermont, but not before she completes a stint writing guest columns for The Winsted Journal about current events in the United States and around the world.For the past three years, Hahn has been working as a paid intern at the Office of the Community Lawyer on Main Street, run by attorney Charlene LaVoie and funded by the Shafeek Nader Trust for the Community Interest.In recent weeks, Hahn has written columns for The Journal about nuclear energy, whistleblowers and aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, with future columns coming on biotechnology, solar energy in Connecticut and the history of Social Security.“I’ve always been interested in writing, and when I came here I was told I would have opportunities writing articles,” Hahn said in an interview Tuesday in the community lawyer’s office. “I think this office focuses on a lot of issues and involvement in general and speaking up when you see something that’s wrong that’s going on in your community. I’ve learned there are so many things you can get involved in.”A National Honor Society student at Northwestern, Hahn was also a member of the school’s math team and served on the student senate. In college, she plans to study creative writing and journalism. Working at the Community Lawyer’s office has helped Hahn develop her voice as a writer and commentator, she said, along with a sense of what it means to be active in one’s community. “I think that Winsted is such a nice town,” she said. “I think we need people to be excited and interested in what’s going on.”In addition to the subjects mentioned, Hahn said, she is researching a column about civility in politics that she hopes to submit in the coming weeks. “It’s sort of about how people want to get involved in politics but don’t necessary have the right amount of power,” she said. “Sometimes they need to use incivility to gain attention, and civility is a tool for keeping them from getting more involved.”Still, Hahn said, “I wouldn’t say I’m very uncivil. I think something I’ve learned from working at this office is I’m sort of a shy person, but I’m willing to speak up when I feel I should speak up.”

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