Local grads get lesson in public service with Sen. Brooks


As District 8 Senator John Brooks made his rounds this summer, he had the help of some Bellmore-Merrick graduates looking for a firsthand window into the local political process.

Matt Graber, a 2017 graduate of Sanford H. Calhoun High School, where he was salutatorian, joined Brooks as an intern, after a high school career in which he was active in the Key Club, as well as District Governor of the New York District Key Club, where he led more than 13,000 from 240 clubs. Graber also has worked with the blind and shaved his head for the St. Baldrick’s “Chop Your Locks” fundraiser in the spring. In the fall, he will attend the University of Pennsylvania, where he plans to study math and political science.

Jonathan Ellison, also a 2017 Calhoun graduate, earned both the school’s Social Studies Department award and the Herald’s Journalism award. He has been a member of the Model U.N. and a volunteer counselor for adults and children with disabilities at Camp Anchor. He will attend Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations in September, and said that he achieved his goal of learning about local government and policy during his internship with Brooks.

Ron Lampert, who graduated from John F. Kennedy High School this year, hopes to become a successful doctor, but said that he also has aspirations of one day working in politics, and that he enjoyed his time serving the district in which he frew up and “learning many new things about local politics.” Lampert will study at the University of Miami in the fall, where he plans to major in biochemistry.

Brooks said that the three students’ interest in public service and hopes for future government work gave him “tremendous hope for the future of Long Island.”

“This summer, they each dedicated their time to serving the needs of constituents across District 8, and excelled at meeting each individual’s needs,” said Brooks. “I know that we’ll see great things from these three outstanding young men, and I hope this experience has solidified their commitment to public service.”