Superintendent’s Spotlight: Paxton Honerkamp
Paxton Honerkamp’s passion for government and civic engagement began with the 2020 political season. Paxton’s passion for helping others and his community mindedness earned him this week’s Superintendent Spotlight.
This year, Paxton is president of the high school’s Youth in Government Club, where students are involved in mock local government, running for office, and passing legislation. They also shadow local officials.
The junior has already built a long list of involvement in politics and governing. In his freshman year, he participated in the Student Advisory Council for 42nd District New York State Senator Jen Metzger. Elected officials often have groups of youth advisors from throughout their district who help them stay informed on youth perspectives about topics such as the elections or environmental issues.
“I think it’s a great thing to employ,” he said of the advisory councils. “I think giving future voters a forum or a platform to express how they feel on an issue and learn more about it can be really impactful.”
He then interned for Pete Harckham, New York State Senator, 40th District. He worked on data entry, made phone calls to constituents, assisted with food drives, and helped with veteran group outreach and other basics of interning.
“I always strive to get involved any way that I can,” Paxton said. “And, I’ve always looked to learn more and more about the field. There’s a lot of good that can be done.”
Paxton was also a member of the Student Advisory Council for James Skoufis last year, helping the New York State Senator, 39th District office, with things like researching bills and drafting mock bills, along with plans to address issues in the community. Even after advisory council ended, Paxton helped Skoufis this summer on a 4th of July project, where the senator mailed letters to residents of his district who put out flags. He wanted to show his appreciation for their patriotism.
Paxton learned about the project as a member of advisory council, and when the council finished in June, he still wanted to help.
“I thought it would be an interesting project to get involved with,” he said.
Recently, Paxton began an internship for Sean Patrick Maloney, U.S. Congressman, 18th District.
“He cares a lot about issues in the district and he’s always been someone I tried to model myself after. It’s a great privilege and an honor to get to work for his office and its great experience working in a congressional office as well, so I am looking forward to doing that.”
He will lend a hand for whichever projects the office needs him, from small to large tasks.
“In my 31-year career in education, I’ve never seen a student so engrossed in civic engagement,” said WVHS Principal Marguerite Fusco. “As President of the Youth in Government club and his membership on Senator Skoufis’ Youth Advisory Council, he demonstrates an ability to understand government and legislative processes, as well as the implementation of public policies, on the highest level. Paxton is also humble and extremely appreciative of his opportunities to work with local government officials and agencies.”
All of these experiences have helped Paxton determine his college and career path. He wants to serve people and advocate on the issues and causes important to him.