Because, it’s your civic duty… entering into a new school year, students will begin to face a number of responsibilities that can seem more challenging than ever before. Responsibilities can come from increasing school work, jobs, sports, decisions about college, and the duties that all citizens have to face. For instance, voting is a major responsibility that should not be taken for granted in this country. Living in a country that is indisputably divided can have the effect of feeling hesitant in one’s political opinions. Being informed should go hand in hand with the right to vote. However, with the rise of fake news and biased reporting, the step to becoming informed is a daunting task. One way students can learn about current events and differing opinions on political matters is with Riverbend’s Civics club.
Mr. Andrew Wright, a history teacher at Riverbend, is a moderator for the Civics club. He said, “When you become 18, it’s our civic responsibility [to vote], which is what we’re talking about in our class right now and also what it means to be a full citizen. People can sometimes feel disheartened if they vote for somebody who doesn’t win, but that’s why we have the process, so it’s all the more important, especially for young people to go out and vote.” Eventually, the younger generation will be leading the country, which makes it even more crucial for them to be involved. He goes on to say, “The vote does matter even from small, local elections to the president. They’re all connected through the vote, so it’s the one thing that, you, an individual, can really make a difference in your community.” For instance, in January 2018, the election for the Virginia House of Delegates was decided by a hat draw, because not enough people voted to break the tie.
Sophomore, Maria Kriewaldt said, “We’re going to be the ones running the country when our parents and grandparents get older and can’t do what they’re doing now, so it’s definitely good to have a say in what’s going on [in our country].” According to a Pew Research study, during the 2018 midterm election, 4.5 million votes were cast by Generation Z. One could assume that the 2020 election will bring higher voting numbers as more Gen Z turn 18.
Shelby Campbell, the president for Civics club expresses her admiration for the benefits of the club. “I think the Civics club [is great because] we provide the opportunity that if you want to campaign, you can campaign and get those political connections. If you want to meet politicians, you can meet politicians. Voting is very important, but even before voting, being involved in the political community is also equally as important.”