Assabet grad builds impressive political journalism resume

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By Cindy Zomar, Contributing Writer

Michael Lisasa interviews Governor Michael Dukakis in his Brookline home.
Photo/submitted

Marlborough – Michael Lisasa recently graduated from Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School as part of its Design and Visual Communications program (DV). 

“DV was the first shop I explored, and I knew immediately it was what I wanted,” Lisasa said. 

However, spots are limited, and the process is competitive. Lisasa landed in two other programs, but kept his eye on the prize. 

“I was persistent, and eventually a spot opened,” he recalled. “At that point, though, I never imagined I would someday be interviewing a former presidential candidate!”

Lisasa was asked to be an intern for Senator Jamie Eldridge last summer.

“My philosophy was that it’s not what you do in an internship, it’s what you take out of that internship,” he said. “I networked with everyone, always reaching out to shake a hand and introduce myself.  I definitely believe in the Butterfly Effect…the smallest things can make the biggest difference.”

During his internship, he met Governor Michael Dukakis. 

“I went up to him and told him my parents had voted for him for president,” Lisasa remembered. “He gave me his card and said if I ever needed anything to reach out. As I was driving home that day, I kept thinking ‘I have the business card of a presidential candidate in my pocket!’ 

Lisasa emailed him and asked for an interview and Dukakis agreed to meet at his home in Brookline.

“He is just a regular guy who loves to help people and mentor,” Lisasa noted. “He is currently a professor at both Northeastern and UCLA, passing on his knowledge and encouraging young people to get involved. He has over a hundred former students currently in public service, which is quite the legacy.” 

More recently, Lisasa interviewed Massachusetts Senator Eric Lesser, another contact from his internship. Lesser’s experience includes working on President Barack Obama’s campaign and as a White House aide, before coming back to represent his district. 

“We had talked about having him on my show at school, but then the pandemic hit… Senator Lesser generously agreed to [a Zoom interview],” Lisasa said. “He’s a great man, and an inspiration to me.”

As for that college experience, Lisasa will be attending Westfield State, though there will only be virtual classes in the fall.

“I was really looking forward to that feeling of driving away to college, to my dorm,” he admitted. “My plan is to study digital media communications.”

His internship opportunity with former Legislative Aide Dan Sena’s campaign to the House of Representatives is on hold, but he is keeping busy working at the Theatre Creamery in Maynard and volunteering with Joe Kennedy’s campaign.

“None of this would have happened if I had given up my dream of being in the DV program at Assabet,” he said. “I am so grateful!”

The interview with Dukakis can be seen at https://vimeo.com/362610580. The interview with Lesser can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/433131519.