Politically active students impact community at large

Angela Lee, staff writer

As the next generation of voters, American teenagers are on the cusp of societal leadership and assuming their rights and responsibilities as citizens. However, teenagers are seldom considered politically active members of society. Not all teenagers are apathetic, though, as several students show on a regular basis by getting involved and making their voices heard.

“Being politically active helps put perspective on what’s happening. If I start now, I’ll be ready for when it comes time to vote,” sophomore Shreya Tripathy, who volunteered for Ralph Northam’s campaign, said. “I feel like other people should start being more politically active and join the different clubs to foster their own opinions. You want to create your own beliefs and perspectives. You want to be able to change what’s happening and make the world better for others as well.”

Whether a person leans left or right, it is important to engage in politics as a student because it is not enough to just know what is going on in the world. Although the majority of high schoolers are unable to vote, there are a variety of activities that people can participate in to get involved in their communities.

“Since we’re so close to the capital, there are a lot of marches and amazing things going on. Going to marches and seeing people together creates this kind of environment where I feel accepted,” sophomore Serena Satouri said. “It’s really nice to go and actually feel like you are there for a cause. I met so many amazing people that are not only inspirational, but they’re intelligent and they’ve taught me so much, not only about myself but how to treat other people.”

Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are helpful tools in finding information about upcoming marches, protests and activist events. Many organizations broadcast planned demonstrations and spontaneous protests, solely relying on these platforms to spread the word.

In addition to attending the March for Life, an annual anti-abortion rally, junior David Rodriguez stays active in both local and global politics by serving as the president of the Young Conservatives club. Rodriguez was an intern for governor candidate Ed Gillespie and went door-to-door on weekends to talk to potential supporters.  

“First of all, it gives you good hours for college, but personally, it helped me because I’m really shy in person. Door knocking helps me if I’m talking to someone I don’t know,” Rodriguez said. “It helps me say ‘This is me and this is what I believe. I care about the way this country is going.’”

Political awareness is paramount to the future of our country, as is participation, and many students, even those who cannot yet vote, have been getting involved and taking on active roles in the community. Opportunities to become educated and engaged in politics in school can help form political opinions and aid understanding of campaign issues.

“We have amazing clubs at school like Young Democrats and Young Republicans. It’s just amazing because you can voice your opinion and you can join groups that have the same views as you,” Satouri said. “The clubs have opportunities outside of school, which gets the members active.”  

Getting involved can help young people avoid the trend of political apathy.

“Right now with politics, the atmosphere is very prone to change, and I think that if you start now and you really believe in it, you can actually make that change happen,” Tripathy said. “We are the future; we have the ability to change it.”