Rahdin stakes out the State House


Rahdin Salehian, Media Editor

I’ve gotten myself involved in student politics quite a bit, working three years on behalf of the Class of 2023 and now as one of the school’s co-presidents. When there’s no school, though, there’s only so much politicking to do. I couldn’t possibly imagine a whole summer without fundraisers and class meetings! What if I tried out some state politics? That can’t be too different, right? After some cold emails and resume-building, I landed a summer internship with House Minority Leader Brad Jones.

Though COVID restrictions prevented frequent in- person visits to the State House, I found pleasure in conducting legislative research on Zoom. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t visit at all! When I was invited to the office, my supervisor suggested I go on an official State House tour. That’s when the craziness began to unfold.

As I walked through groups of tourists and toward the information desk, I was surprised to see a familiar face: Leo Wang ’24! What are the chances of that? Leo’s summer job was working as a State House tour guide. As soon as we made eye contact, he jumped out of his seat. “RAHDIN!” he squealed and pointed.

“LEO!” I screamed while pointing back. I felt like we were in that Spiderman meme.

So, there we were: just an intern and a tour guide, both students at BB&N, both dressed in the type of attire you’d expect to see at closing ceremony, and both in the middle of the Massachusetts State House. It was the perfect formula for success!

While tours are typically given in groups, mine was one-on-one. Leo and I started in Doric Hall, where we met George Washington, John Hancock, and other revolutionary war figures (in statue form, of course). After a quick trip down some stairs, we approached what would become one of my favorite parts of the tour: the House Chamber. Leo and I snapped some photos behind the big rostrum in the front— the same one from which then president-elect John F. Kennedy delivered his 1961 “City Upon a Hill” speech to the Massachusetts General Court. I felt inspired. Along with flashbacks from years’ worth of class meetings, I imagined myself with fellow Co-President Saanika Raina ’23 (see “Co-President Questionnaire” page 14) addressing BB&N in assemblies this upcoming school year.

Also piquing my interest was an unexpected stop at a painting of Elbridge Gerry, former Massachusetts Governor and United States Vice President. Why is he important, you may ask? Well, because BB&N would not have the street address it does today without him; Gerry’s Landing was named after Elbridge Gerry! He also inspired the term gerrymandering, which is when the boundaries of districts on a map are manipulated to unfairly favor one group. Perhaps Leo’s tour guide language summed it up best: “After Gerry created a partisan district in Boston, people were like, ‘Hey, that looks like a salamander! Or maybe, a Gerry-mander!’”

To come full circle, the tour ended as unexpectedly as it started. Leo and I opened up a door and found ourselves on the top balcony at the front of the building, looking over the whole city of Boston. As we were about to step back inside, a duck boat passed by (classic Boston). Everyone in the boat had their phones out pointing in our direction (classic tourists). You know we had to seize the opportunity; we waved to them in a very presidential fashion!

If you think about it hard enough, the State House is practically another BB&N: the tourists are the prospective students who take tours during admissions season, the House Chamber is the NAC when it’s all set up for assemblies, and the paintings are the senior tiles, symbolizing the legacy of those who roamed the halls before us. In this BB&N-like environment, simply put, I learned how to lead and approach problems effectively. Perhaps these sharpened skills will translate well into the upcoming year of Student Council!