Fight for your right
November 2008 demonstrated that our generation can respect the election process. We defined our political beliefs and took the candidates’ stances seriously, and thanks to our campaign vigor and sizable voting bloc, we propelled to the Oval Office the man 68 percent of us hoped would effect real change, Barack Obama. Now if only Conestoga students could value their own elections as much.
Every May, students at our high school can elect representatives who will go on to effect the change that we wish to see in our school community. However, the only campaign requirement of candidates is a single statement that summarizes complex opinions in a few words. This is a problem. When all we have to determine a candidate’s qualifications is a 75-word summary, how are we expected to elect competent office holders, leaders capable of working productively for our benefit?
As students, we have to demand a platform through which we can effect actual change. Instead of blaming teachers for the lack of opportunities we currently possess, we have to go out and create them for ourselves. What we have to work to preserve is the democratic institution and the values it represents. If we take the necessary steps, we have the ability to end the cycle of low voter turnouts and student apathy, all of which have resulted from the diminshed standing of the student government.
Simple measures are available to remedy the situation. Students could make speeches on the morning announcements and explain their plans for reform. They could also post a list of their goals and ideas on Stoganews.com. Optional assemblies could be held in the weeks leading up to the election, where candidates could engage in debate about varying stances on issues. It would be easy for administrators and students alike to forsake the age-old institution and justify our collective apathy, but we have to work to break this cycle.
Our school needs to allow for active campaigning and provide a forum for aspiring young representatives to spell out their goals to the student body. With this opportunity, we can strengthen the student government. Obama’s meteoric rise to power owes a great deal to the ability of youth voters—and non-voters—to weigh the issues and the opinions. There should be no reason why we can’t replicate what happened nationally right here at Conestoga.
Unsigned editorials represent the views of The Spoke editorial board, and not necessarily those of the administration, student body, community or advertisers.