RACINE — For recent Walden III High School graduate Sarah Semrad, an interesting night might include watching two politicians debate on television or knocking on citizen’s doors to encourage them to vote. Semrad, 20, has a passion for politics, it’s a passion she said started when she was at Walden.
Semrad, who is a junior majoring in political science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, is now the vice chairman of the College Democrats of Wisconsin, an organization whose purpose is to increase student participation in the electoral process.
As the vice chairman, Semrad helps to organize and establish the organization’s annual state convention. She also meets with regional directors of other College Democrat chapters to better serve constituents.
Semrad, a 2015 Walden graduate, wants to make sure that everyone has an equal say in their government. “My number-one passion in politics is making sure that constituents feel represented and cared for,” said Semrad. “I’m also very passionate about seeing more women and people of color in positions of power.”
Passion started at Walden
Semrad’s love for politics began right here in Racine. Semrad took a government class taught by Kim Sanders during her senior year at Walden III. “As a senior, you hardly ever look forward to any class,” said Semrad. “Even so, I remember being eager to go to her class every day because it included things that I was extremely interested in for the first time ever.”
Kim Sanders is happy to see that Semrad chose to be a political science major. “Sarah was always very passionate about what she said, but she was also very respectful to others as well,” said Sanders. “I think Sarah will have the experience she needs to put the constituents she will be serving ahead of herself.”
Throughout the school year Semrad was able to debate and share her opinions with fellow classmates. She also served as the student government president her senior year. “This was the first time I really had to aggressively defend my political opinion, which I think really helped me come to terms with what I believed in,” Semrad said.
It was also through a civics course taught at Walden III that Semrad learned that she could make a difference using politics. Semrad worked alongside her classmates to get a four-way stop at the intersection of 10th and Center Street just outside the school by meeting with and pressuring local officials. “This is where I realized that I could truly do this whole politics and government thing, and that goals like these were achievable,” said Semrad.
Semrad expressed interest in pursuing a career either in the legislative branch of government or working on campaigns for political office.
She worked as an intern for the Hilary Clinton campaign last fall, which she described as “the best experience of my life.” No matter what she plans to do upon graduation, Semrad plans on remaining active in politics.
“If I would not have stayed active and tried new things throughout my time at Walden III and at UW-La Crosse, I would have never found out that politics was what I loved,” said Semrad. “I went from running a small school’s student government to a statewide organization. I know I would not have been able to do this without the freedom and opportunities that Walden III gave me.”