Teen primed for politics

January 12, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - When anyone at North Hagerstown High School needs to get something done, they call Matthew Amalfitano.

"If he says he's going to do something, he absolutely does it, and he does it well," said Valerie Novak, the school's principal.

Matthew, 16, has lobbied the state legislature, represented Maryland at national conferences and played on the Frederick Area Select Lacrosse Team. In his spare time, Matthew tutors Paramount Elementary School math students.

Last year, he traveled to Annapolis to speak with the Senate Appropriations Committee about funding for the Mike Callas Stadium at North High.


Matthew can work a room like any adult politician she has ever seen, Novak said.

"He's an awesome kid," she said.

In August, the son of Dr. Thomas and Bonnie Amalfitano will take his seemingly unending energy to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

He wants to get involved with the University's undergraduate assembly form of student government, play club sports, volunteer and maybe join a fraternity.

He chose Penn because of its reputation as the "social Ivy," Matthew said.

"I think, to be a complete person you balance between brains and personality," he said. "I get to meet these people who are going to be making the headlines."

Before he gets to Philadelphia, Matthew has some projects at home he wants to tackle.

In February, Washington County students have the opportunity to participate in a fundraising drive to benefit nonprofit organizations that students choose.

Matthew serves as the executive director of the fundraising drive, called the Youth Initiative of Washington County United Way. He hopes to raise $10,000 this year, and to direct all of the money to nonprofit organizations that work with children. More importantly, he hopes the initiative gains momentum and becomes an annual effort, Matthew said.

He envisions students helping others their own age.

"Kids are such an untapped resource," Matthew said.

He serves as president of North's Student Government Association and as the president of the county's student government.

He organized a teen group that advises the Washington County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition. He hopes the teenagers help, "find out what is really going to stop the problem," Matthew said.

In college, Matthew wants to study health policy and health-care administration. The field combines his interest in medicine, business and politics, he said.

As the son of an orthopedic surgeon, Matthew was always interested in medicine. By studying policy, "I can affect the health care of this nation on a large scale," he said.

And there is Matthew's other goal.

"Oh, he wants to be President of the United States," Novak said.

Online forum

Under Matthew Amalfitano's leadership, the Washington County Student Government Association is starting an online forum to get a better understanding of student opinion. Students can find the forum at

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