Every four years, a handful of eligible OVS seniors get a rare opportunity – they get to vote in a presidential election.
While the election this past November was hectic and controversial, it afforded a whole new wave of fresh-faced eighteen year olds to take part for the first time in the electoral process.
Among the mass of new voters was senior Evelyn Brokering. With an absentee ballot in hand, Evelyn sat in a Los Angeles diner in the weeks before the November election ready to help shape the nation.
“This election was so crazy I just wanted my vote to count,” Evelyn said. “It was interesting to see that America is trying to change a lot.”
In each election the country attempts to change itself for the better, but the new generation of voters are changing too. Eighteen marks adulthood in the states and is a milestone age for change.
In the grand scheme of the world 18 is young, but it is important for people to know what is going on in their country and to be able to act on their opinions, especially as they grow into adulthood.
“I think that a lot of times young people don’t vote as often as they should,” said Assistant Head of School Laurel Colborn, who teaches U.S. History and Government. “I think that the more invested you are in your community the better off you are.”
Beyond the neighborhood community, the entire nation is a community all living under one president and one government. Everyone is connected – young, old, and in-between the election affects everyone whether they vote or not.
For the amount of weight that goes with the vote the actual act itself is as simple as filling in the bubbles.
“[It’s] not as exciting as you’d think,” said senior Shawn Harvey, who, like Evy, participated in his first election in November. “But I did get to input my opinion on issues I care about.”
Despite the simplicity of the actual voting process the propositions being voted on are anything but. For election years, Mrs. Colborn makes sure to cover the propositions that affect California and even hosts a mock election to enhance understanding of the policies being addressed.
“We [Government and Law Class] talked about each issue individually,” Shawn said. “It helped you understand what you were voting for.”
As a Government and Law teacher, Mrs. Colborn loves everything about law and politics, and that love comes out particularly during election years. She is passionate about voting and imbuing her students with the feeling that they can make a difference, and that it is important to not waste that ability.
“[I am] really proud to vote and being able to teach that kind of excitement and values to my students, and see them act on it, is very, very rewarding,” she said. “I feel like I’m not just teaching them about civics but I’m actually seeing them live it.”
So, at the young age of 18, United States citizens can vote and have a voice in the world they live in.
It is a unique experience that opens doors to entire new worlds of information. Voting is about what direction the country should go, and because of that the new voters need to be well informed about the changes that are being made.
“[Voting] really made me think about the country more,” Evelyn said. “It was a great opportunity.”Share