Students Show Leadership While Volunteering With Local Government

Senior+Jack+Ziets+attends+a+zoom+meeting+with+fellow+Susan+Wild+campaign+organizers.

Jack Ziets

Senior Jack Ziets attends a zoom meeting with fellow Susan Wild campaign organizers.

Evelyn Blower

This year, the 2020 elections spurred many students across all grades to become more involved in local elections. Although many of these students may not be able to vote for themselves, that hasn’t stopped several young activists from Southern Lehigh High School from volunteering for political organizations and election campaigns.

“I’m active in campaigning because I truly believe the youngest generation of voters has the most agency to create change in the system,” said senior Cameron Hines, a volunteer with Congresswoman Susan Wild’s campaign. 

Students who have participated in various political campaigns in the Lehigh Valley and beyond have noted that they are not alone in their interest. Along with other high schooler students, they are looking to overturn the stereotype of political apathy among young adults.

“I’ve seen tons of active high schoolers that can really make a difference,…volunteering and trying to get the word out about voting,” said senior Jack Zeits, a high school coordinator for Congresswoman Susan Wild’s campaign. “People might not expect much from young people since there is a negative perception of these voters, but we really can have an impact when we turn out to vote.”

Some volunteering opportunities include phone banking sessions moderated over Zoom and an online phone banking website, as well as text banking in a similar style. A main proponent of their action is social media, where many volunteers and campaigners look to create influence with their presence by adding politics to their feed to gain support. 

Before the start of an October 29 Zoom phone bank, many active students, along with 150 others, attended an event where the Allentown-born actress Amanda Seyfried and Congresswoman Susan Wild spoke.

“My ultimate goal is just to try to get as many people to register to vote, or educate them on how to vote, because I think that’s really important this election,” sophomore Kylie Baker said. “It can be really confusing with conflicting news, and there are actions being taken trying to tear down the election, so it’s really important that people have the information that they need to vote.”

Many students, this year in particular, have been driven to care more about politics than ever before. In wake of the murder of George Floyd and in light of the pandemic and its management, many have spread their views on social media and through friends. This election, the sharing of information has been crucial to learn how to vote, and for whom to vote. 

“Being an informed voter means that you don’t just vote based on what your parents’ opinion is, or based on what your neighbor’s opinion is, or based on what your best friend’s opinion is, but really be informed enough to have your own opinion,” Spanish teacher Mrs. Joan Imms-Geiser said. “I think we live in a world where there certainly is enough information that you can form your own opinion.”

Students who want to get involved in politics can start by joining any one of several clubs offered at the high school: Junior State of America (JSA), Mock Trial, and High School Democrats of Southern Lehigh. These clubs have adapted to holding successful meetings over Zoom and have even held special events, such as JSA’s recent discussion with Lehigh County Sheriff Joe Hanna. 

These events attract many of Southern Lehigh’s most politically involved students, showcasing how the youth of today will be the important voters and campaigners of tomorrow.