How Would Prep Vote?
November 8, 2018
An essential element of the american experience is the ability to vote: to shape the future of one’s country and to express individual opinion. A fundamental idea to this system in America is that everyone’s opinion is heard, however the current system leaves out a significant portion of the population. 10% of the United State’s population is comprised of teenagers who form strong opinions on current political topics. This fraction should not be discounted as high school students tend to have more exclusive and original ideas that anyone else.
Among many local controversies, students at Prep are driven by the recent budget cuts in the Seattle Public Schools. “The arts are an essential part of an education”, said Fiona Killalea 20’. “I can’t imagine going to a school without a chance to paint, act or film.” Students at Prep are accustomed to very unique and specialized classes which help to diversify their learning experience. Passion on the topic of education hits close to home for those who are in the most formative years of their schooling. Though students at Prep may have more privileged opportunities, this does not stop them from advocating for the opportunities of others. Voting seems to be the only way in which many students under eighteen believe they can have the biggest impact. Killalea 20’ admiantely said, “If I were to vote, I would be a lot more motivated to advocate for the quality of my own education.”
More broadly, homelessness is seen and felt by many around the Seattle Prep community. “I can’t buss home from school without seeing dozens of homeless people”, said Solei Perrin 20’. “It really has made me understand how fortunate I really am.” Voting for more affordable healthcare and housing programs is paramount in the struggle against homelessness and Prep students have some ideas. “I would vote right now if I could,” said Rowan Davis 21’. “I would push for the creation of more ‘tiny homes’ as well as inexpensive medical insurance”. The service Prep does within the local community motivates students to become more involved in the homelessness crisis. Service places a bandaid over the issue, but voting has the potential to fix a problem entirely. “I guess I most driven by the thought of an entire family sleeping under a bridge and going hungry”, said Davis. “If I can do anything in my power to change that, I would vote.”
Recently, students as young as eleven and as old as twenty two have taken their case all the way to the Supreme Court. Their case- one’s civil rights are violated by the action and inaction of the United States’ Government on the topic of climate change. These students, some of which are in highschool, are standing up for what they believe in at the federal level. Legally, youth are not supposed to have a voice in government, however this case has gone to show that teens really can make a difference in the political climate of America. “That’s about all you can do if you can’t vote,” said Henry Pehl 20’ when discussing the case. “These young people are arguing from a very different place that adults cannot fully appreciate, as the effects of climate change will be felt by young people in the future. “It’s harder for adults to accept”, stated Pehl. “How can you be passionate about something that won’t impact you as much?”. The major theme among Prep students is the idea to reinstate Obama era climate policies. However, a large setback to the control of carbon dioxide emissions seems to be over the phrase “American friendly”. “At some point we have to realize what really is valuable to this country”, said Pehl. “Whether that means we cut back on fossil fuel consumption or destroy fewer forests, something has to change”.
It is clear the student body at Seattle Prep is passionate. Passionate about change. Passionate about the social justice. Passionate about the future. Not only would the power of voting enable students to legally voice their opinions, but it would allow them to formulate new ideas too. “So much of what I believe comes from my parents”, said Charles Gwynn 20’. “With the new power and responsibility of voting, I feel that I might have different opinions of my own. And that excites me.”