Very soon after Dwight Global Online School senior Quentin Colón Roosevelt was sworn in as the youngest elected official in the District of Columbia, a friend of his 93-year-old great aunt got wind of the happy news, which had hit all media outlets.
“Have you heard about your nephew’s position as Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for Ward 3?,” the friend asked Quentin’s great aunt. “I saw him on the news, and he’s very charismatic! If you talk with him, though, tell him he could really use a haircut,” she joked.
“My aunt called me to congratulate me, and we went out for tea,” said Quentin, who is, indeed, charismatic — as well as warm, open, passionate about his work, and a good listener. “The Roosevelt family is very large, and I hadn’t seen her since I was two years old. It was nice. I still haven’t gotten that haircut, though!”
Finding little time for haircuts is understandable, given the many hours Quentin, age 18, devotes to his high school studies, extracurriculars, and his political volunteerism and engagement. Since being sworn in on January 2, 2023, he has also been regularly providing interviews and patiently answering questions of reporters eager to hear his story.
As an ANC for the northwestern DC neighborhoods of Spring Valley, the Palisades, Wesley Heights, Foxhall, Berkeley, and Kent, Quentin works with residents and advises government agencies on housing, education, transportation, and pedestrian safety. Most ANCs serve a two-year term.
Quentin’s passion for helping others through politics is genuine and longstanding, and his enthusiasm is contagious. Previously, he worked on campaigns for representatives running for DC Council, and he continues to volunteer on an advisory board for the DC Mayor’s Office. Through his work, he has seen the tremendous importance of effective neighborhood schools. In his ANC position, Quentin is dedicated to making sure a new Ward 3 high school, which opens in August to relieve overcrowding at the existing Jackson Reed High School, flourishes. One goal is to improve access through creating bike lanes and increased public bus transportation.
Political service runs deep and wide in the Roosevelt family, of course, and not just through Quentin’s great-great-great-grandfather on his mother’s side, Theodore Roosevelt, who served as US President from 1901-09. Quentin’s great-grandfather, Kermit Roosevelt, worked for the OSS and CIA in the 1940s and 50s. Quentin’s father, Michael Colón, who is originally from Puerto Rico, has a PhD in computer science from Stanford University and works for the US Naval Research Laboratory, one of the US government’s largest scientific research laboratories.
Volunteering and community service started early for Quentin, through his 13-year involvement in Scouting. He earned his Eagle Scout Award organizing and overseeing a project to clean up the Congressional Cemetery, and he is currently the head of Scouts in DC through Scouting's National Honor Society and premier service organization, The Order of the Arrow.
“I’ve been a scout since I was five years old, and it's been one of the few constants in my life,” he said. “I love the program and its values, and much of my work with the Mayor’s Office in DC has been on expanding access to scouting in underserved neighborhoods. I believe scouting can be a life-changing program for boys and girls of all ages. The service aspect of Scouts no doubt led me to run for ANC, as both positions offer a real opportunity to better the lives of people around me.”
Quentin, who will continue his ANC work when he attends Princeton University in the fall of 2023 as a freshman, said he feels indebted to his older sister, who graduated from Dwight Global in 2021, for introducing him to her high school. Dwight Global’s flexibility made it possible for Quentin to volunteer with political campaigns, run his own campaign, and work as an ANC while continuing his studies.
“Academically, Dwight has been a massive help to me. Previously, I was homeschooled, and though I could learn a lot using the internet, the structure and rigor of Dwight’s courses have been life-changing. I’ve learned to like subjects I didn’t care for, like chemistry, and I’ve been able to delve deeper into subjects I love, like history and English.”
“Currently, I’m taking AP Statistics, AP English Literature & Composition, AP Environmental Science, AP Macroeconomics, AP Psychology, and AP Spanish. Some of my favorite classes have been AP US History and AP European History, which both have amazing teachers. I’m a club leader for Dwight’s Diplomatic Leadership Club, where students participate in Model UN and Model Congress events online and in person. Mr. Gallo, the club leader who was also my AP Euro teacher, is one of my favorite teachers. Everyone in the club is focused on helping each other prepare for conferences and ensuring we are all in the best place to succeed at these events,” said Quentin.
Quentin said Dwight Global has been good for him socially as well. “Though it seems like friends might be hard to make and keep at an online school, I’ve found students I can talk to and spend time with both online and in person,” said Quentin. “Dwight offers great in-person events in New York City, and I’ve also traveled to NYC and met up with DG kids in other places outside of scheduled events. I’ve made some amazing friends through Dwight.”
“Professionally, Dwight has given me unmatched flexibility to pursue my outside interests,” continued Quentin. “Whether it has been working for political campaigns, leading the Boy Scouts in DC, working the Mayor’s Office on pressing youth issues, or running for office myself, Dwight has given me the freedom to constantly pursue my outside interests while also giving me a quality education. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all I have over the past three years without Dwight’s flexibility and support, and it’s allowed me to access opportunities and work in a way that few other kids my age are able to.”