Wait, Marysville has a mayor?
The teenage generation held witness to the re-election of Obama, and in a short four years, these witnesses will be responsible for voting in the next president. But when a majority of teens can't tell you the mayor of their own home town, or even name the Speaker of the House, it raises the question of whether they are truly equipped to make such a decision.
We all know the feeling of being bombarded by the political billboards and commercials, all telling us whom to vote for and what to vote on. Yet, as teenagers, we are perhaps the most impressionable of audiences.
"People, especially teens, tend to accept things on a basis of hearsay. What we need is to stay educated. We need to learn the why, not just the what. We need to learn to question, to think," said Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts junior Jacob Ferrini.
It's easy to be subject to this political herding because we put our trust in what we know. The problem emerges when what we know is only what we've been told from one-sided media arguments, leaving us vulnerable to popular public opinion.
We too readily take the information that's handed out to us, without even a moment of hesitation.
"If you want to express your freedom to vote, then at least let it be your own opinion," said MCAA freshman Elizabeth Noonan.
Due to all this outer influence, young people need to be proactive in seeking out the proper information. That's where it becomes complicated. With school, friends and home, we occupy ourselves with our own, most immediate, problems and situations. We neglect to look at the larger scheme of things.
More than we often realize, politics are affecting and changing our lives every day. Prop 30 was recently passed, a vital bill that allowed proper funding for California schools. This bill alone allowed our school experience not to be cut short, saving teachers, programs and education time.
We need to be aware so that when bills such as Prop 30 come along, we can understand their effect and importance. Yet such awareness does not just suddenly dawn on someone. It develops.
"As one generation retires, the next must be prepared with knowledge of the past to run the future. Civics is putting our foot in the door," said senior Billy Cochran.
In civics, a class about government and politics, instructor Larry Yocum educates students about all aspects of the political process. He encourages his students to investigate for themselves the pros and cons found in the propositions, as well as to develop a knowledge and awareness concerning elections.
This invaluable education is what is inspiring MCAA students not just to be governed but to be a part of their government. It's vital for students to graduate into knowledgeable citizens, and education is a first step toward reaching such a goal.
The election may be over, but politics never rest. So in these next few years, we will take on the challenge of becoming true citizens — and challenge others to do the same.
Kylee Schesser is a senior at Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts. Her column appears every six weeks in Education.