Bridging the gap

WHS student is third to serve as a City Council rep

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Bridgette McCarthy is hoping her time as a city council student representative will help bridge the gap between youth and local government.

The 16-year-old Washougal High School junior recently attended her first meeting in her new position on the Washougal City Council.

“I would like to be involved with Associated Student Body at our school, but I am so busy, it is hard to find time in my schedule to participate in it,” McCarthy said. “I love being able to be the voice of youth, and that our council wants everyone to be included.”

McCarthy’s hobbies include acting, singing, band, horseback riding and volunteering.

She feels the most challenging part of her new role on the City Council will be understanding the terms used during meetings, and representing youth well.

“Eventually, the high schoolers now will become the adults of our society later,” she said. “It is important for them to learn about what they can do so that their voice may be heard in decisions that are being made to directly benefit them.”

Washougal Mayor Sean Guard noted that McCarthy is the third high school representative to serve on the council.

“I instituted, with the City Council’s concurrence, the position as a formal way to hear the perspective of a student representative on community issues,” he said. “While some communities have much younger elected officials, we have not always had a younger perspective represented. I am a firm believer in civics and our students understanding the role of government. This student position is an offshoot of that, as least for one individual a year.”

He continued, “Frankly, today’s students are going to inherit what we do today. If only for that reason, I would love to know their thoughts on the challenges in our city.”

Aaron Hansen, WHS principal, said the student liaison role provides an important opportunity to advocate for students. He described McCarthy as an active, involved student.

“She has a passion for community service,” he said. “I am excited for her, as I believe she will accurately represent her peers as a viable voice.”