Never Too Young To Make Change

MCPS Students Get More Politically Active

Sophomore+Vagmi+Luhar+participated+in+the+March+For+Our+Lives+last+March.%0A
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Never Too Young To Make Change

Sophomore Vagmi Luhar participated in the March For Our Lives last March.

Sophomore Vagmi Luhar participated in the March For Our Lives last March.

Vagmi Luhar

Sophomore Vagmi Luhar participated in the March For Our Lives last March.

Vagmi Luhar

Vagmi Luhar

Sophomore Vagmi Luhar participated in the March For Our Lives last March.

Kara Peeler, Reporter

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School shootings. Game-changing elections. Political injustices. This is what affects the lives of American teens in today’s society, and in recent years they’ve begun fighting back.

As current devastating or politically divisive events occur, teenagers step out and make their voices heard, even if they can’t vote yet. This civic engagement contributes greatly to societal change.

“In the US, we pride ourselves on being inclusive and boasting a government that operates under the consent of the governed. But that consent is not implied. It must be vocalized through the ballot and through protests and through demonstrations,” junior Zoe Tishaev said.

Many notable political demonstrations have taken place this past year. Last March, over 200,000 people, including many MCPS students, swarmed to Washington, D.C. to participate in the March For Our Lives. They protested gun violence following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead.  

Marches such as these inspire fellow teenagers to join in, especially when so many people in their generation attend. This sudden burst of political participation has made itself evident, especially to teachers.

“I think that teens are really politically engaged right now. I think what happened with Parkland and what those teens are able to do there can foster civic engagement for young people. The March For Our Lives helped a lot of young people get more engaged in politics,” government teacher Teak Bassett said.

Students themselves have noticed similar trends amongst their classmates.

“I have noticed an increase in participation amongst my peers, especially starting in 2016 with the Trump administration. Young people realized that it really is important to vote and that what is happening in the government actually affects their daily lives and the lives of their friends,” sophomore Charlotte Sanford said.

Sanford has immersed herself into the political and governmental scene since middle school.

“I started volunteering for a local historical society and ended up testifying in front of the state Senate and House. I also regularly go to peaceful protests in front of the White House to oppose the Trump administration and encourage people to vote and register to vote,” she said.

Tishaev also embraced her passion for politics and took similar action.

“I’m a member of the County SGA, which makes it its mission to represent the student voice in conversations with our elected officials on the Board of Education and the County Council. Last year, we had a walkout of sorts on March 14th in memory of the shooting victims at Parkland. I am proud to call myself one of the student coordinators of that effort,” Tishaev said. 

In such a politically divisive time, it is crucial that citizens of all ages communicate their opinions in such a way that their opinions turn to action.

“I look forward to having a part in the future of this country,” sophomore Christine Love said.