BY Izzy Pankey
As midterms approach, politics are becoming a more important thing for people to be thinking about and getting involved in. From getting out there and telling people to vote or even just getting students in on the conversation, Young Republicans and Young Democrats Clubs are getting students involved. Even though majority of students are still too young to vote, they are showing they have a voice and are finding ways to be heard.
Coming into the 2018-19 school year, Young Republicans Club is up and running, and Young Democrats is also getting into the works. Senior Lily Tennekoon, the president, is getting the Young Democrats club started back up after a few years of non-existence. The club has come back into action this year after Tennekoon volunteered to help with a governor campaign. After doing this she decided to get more involved and open the club with the help of Ms. Rampy. Tennekoon says she wants students to have both options,
“I know some students who weren’t republican that were going to meetings just to see what it was like,” says Tennekoon. “I wanted to give that opportunity for people on both sides.”.
Some students grew up being told which political party they were supposed to support; having these clubs allows students to see which party they believe they fit in or to even just learn more about politics. Senior Morne Wolmarans, vice-president of Young Republicans, says he believes that even if you haven’t made up your mind, it’s important to know both sides so that if you get into a discussion about it, you actually know what you’re talking about.
“If you don’t know what you’re talking about,” says Wolmarans, “it’s very detrimental to you.”
Having these clubs gives students a way to get into politics and show their voice. It also influences others to get in on the discussion and be more involved in politics. At the Hometown Huddle this year, Young Democrats club had a voting registration booth where anyone could register to vote in the upcoming midterms. Tennekoon says they had current seniors, Jenks alumni, and even just random people registering because that hadn’t yet.
“They did it because students are leading this,” Tennekoon says.
Since many students are under eighteen, they may believe they don’t have much of a voice in the matter, but these clubs are having students step up and prove themselves wrong. As adults who can vote see young people get involved and use their voice, it inspires them to get involved as well.
Some may worry that having the two opposing clubs at JHS could lead to disputes, but the leaders of the clubs are sure that everything will stay friendly. Tennekoon and Faith Riddoch, senior and President of Young Republicans, are friends and classmates, and are working together to find things the clubs can do together.
“[We want to] show students that other people have other ideas and they may not agree with you and that’s ok,” Tennekoon says. “We want a conversation and we think it’s actually helping.”
The club leaders are planning a conjoined meeting in November after the midterms. They believe it will create an open discussion and really give students an opportunity to talk with one another in a controlled environment.
If you want to get involved in either of the clubs, the Young Democrats Meeting is On November 14th and the Young Republicans meeting is to be determined along with the location for both. If you are of age and have more questions about voting or how to register, check out Adulting 101: A High Schooler’s Guide on How to Vote .