© 2024
Local NPR for the Cape, Coast & Islands 90.1 91.1 94.3
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'She encouraged women everywhere.' Cape Cod 7th grader honored for essay at State House

Breonna Mody's essay on Jane Swift won the Monomoy student a meet-and-greet with the former governor at her portrait's unveiling in Boston.

A winning essay secured Breonna Mody a trip last week to Beacon Hill to meet the state's first two women governors.

"As the first female governor of Massachusetts and the youngest person ever to serve in that role," the 7th grader wrote of Jane Swift, "she encouraged women everywhere."

Swift, a Republican, replaced Paul Cellucci when he became the ambassador to Canada in 2001, and served less than two years. While she was the state's first woman governor, Maura Healey last year became the first elected woman.

In February more than 100 students submitted essays on which portraits of former governors should hang at the State House. As part of the tradition Healey opted for an empty frame for people to envision themselves as governor, an idea based on a separate winning essay.

Mody, who attends Monomoy Regional Middle School, joined 12 other Massachusetts students whose essays on Swift were selected by Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll.

When she unveiled Swift's portrait, "it was magical," Mody told CAI. "It replicated what she looked like when she was governor. It was unbelievable that I was one of the winners and that I was given the opportunity to visit the State House. A lot of people don't get that opportunity, so it was truly an honor."

"[Swift] helped pave the way for us to serve as the first all-women team in Massachusetts history, and she inspired a lasting legacy of educational excellence in our state," Driscoll said at the event.

Mody said her English Language Arts teacher had encouraged her to research, write, and submit an essay. She has since taken an interest in government leadership.

"I would really like to join politics one day and change a lot of things, like equality," Mody said. "Everyone should be treated equally. It would be good to see a change where everyone is treated the same." 

Patrick Flanary is a dad, journalist, and host of Morning Edition.