River Valley High students get involved in politics
With just 33 days until elections, the nation is looking more divided than ever. One can hardly take a stance on an issue without being attacked by the opposing viewpoint. In these times, it takes courage to become involved in politics, but River Valley High School students have thrown caution to the curb and chosen to participate in the congressional campaign of Kim Vann.
Vann, currently a Colusa County supervisor, was recognized by the National Republican Congressional Committee as a "young gun," an up-and-comer with the potential to win a congressional seat.
In 2010, more than 90 "young gun" candidates were elected to the House of Representatives, and strategists are eager to see their numbers improve this election cycle.
The campaign is centered around the Republican "Victory" Headquarters in Yuba City, where volunteers have mobilized to unseat incumbent Democratic congressman John Garamendi. So when students learned that the HQ was looking for new interns, they jumped on the opportunity.
"I volunteered to get involved in politics," said senior Navtej Purewal. "I have such strong views that I wanted an opportunity to voice them — to transform them into tangible results."
These students are an essential part of the campaign. "As interns, we raise awareness of Kim Vann, mostly by conducting surveys, both by phone and in person," said senior Shereen Basi.
"We also serve as liaisons between RVHS and the headquarters, encouraging our peers to join the movement as well," she added.
The interns can work up to four hours a day, with the most dedicated even giving up their weekends. All of this time translates into hundreds of doors knocked on and thousands of phone numbers dialed every week.
Currently, however, the interns are preoccupied in an attempt to rally their fellow students, persuading them to volunteer on "Super" Saturday. On Saturday, HQ goals are raised dramatically, and the pressure is high to meet them.
For days, the interns have been speaking to numerous classes, explaining their tasks and inviting others to sign up.
Through their internship, students are acquiring many of the day-to-day fundamental skills of political campaigning that will help them in the future.
Senior Genesis Escutia said, "I've learned to communicate effectively with people of all backgrounds. When talking to others about politics, it's important to speak carefully and with tact."
All the interns agree on one thing — it does not matter which party one supports, the important thing is getting involved.
Senior Michael Woods said, "It's important to become active in the community, and to make a difference that will last long after we leave."
As children evolve into adults, apathy and indifference is no longer tolerated. This is the time for high-schoolers to develop a sense of political efficacy, to formulate the views and opinions that will shape the next generations.
So — Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative — get informed, participate in politics or at the very least, when the call from a campaign volunteer comes, take the survey.
Alejandra Cervantes is a senior at River Valley High School. Her column appears every six weeks in Education.