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As the school year quickly approaches for middle and high school students, hundreds of thousands of American men and women are learning how to solve complex problems, initiate change in a small community, and work proactively with other individuals. These skills, coupled with additional knowledge in the areas of math, English, reading, science, and history, give students the power to one day tackle the world after high school, one in which each person will have to confront issues, use a strong moral and ethical attitude to analyze data, and form solid opinions on a diverse spectrum of social, financial, and civil issues.

The months of August and September not only welcome the beginning of the academic year, but also some of the most vital periods in the political world. Several debates, rallies, and social events provide key information into politicians’ motives and perspectives, specifically pertaining to the presidential election. With this influx of new information, making key judgements can seem overwhelming, but fortunately, studies have shown that students, specifically high school students, have taken a greater interest in politics than ever before. One prime example of this is the 2018 midterm elections. Early voting showed a nearly 118 percent increase in voters between the ages of 18 and 29, compared to the 2014 midterms. With nearly 14 months until the 2020 President Election, increase in politics should only increase in this age group.

Even before students are able to vote, there are signs of an increase in participation. One annual event, called the International Congress of Youth Voices, implores writers and activists, as young as 16 years old, to discuss political issues and join in community discussions on how to change them. A study from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research surveyed 790 teenagers age 13 to 17 and found that many of the teenagers agreed on the current political climate in America and had a desire to make a change. These examples show the same trend that can be seen in numerous other surveys and studies: teenagers want to change their future and recognize that by engaging in politics, they can work to make that change happen. So, as students around the country begin to have their brains picked about historical dates and mathematical formulas, they may find interest in having discussions about real, tangible topics, kick starting their journey into the political arena.

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Dailey Jackson was born and raised in Jacksonville and currently attends Bishop Kenny High School. She’s involved in multiple service clubs and organizations and is a Student Ambassador for the Holocaust Learning and Educational Fund. Among other activities, she also writes for the Kenny newspaper, The Shield, and plays in the Drumline. She’s entering her junior year and after graduating she plans to become a chemical engineer. As a high schooler, Dailey is very passionate about the issues teens face and how to address them. She’s looking forward to spreading awareness about current issues and concerns in the Jacksonville community.

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