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Fostering opportunities for advocacy

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Fostering opportunities for advocacy

CESJDS students participate in a JSA political convention located at JDS. They discussed many current issues with other students from the area.

CESJDS students participate in a JSA political convention located at JDS. They discussed many current issues with other students from the area.

photo by Rebecca Weiss

CESJDS students participate in a JSA political convention located at JDS. They discussed many current issues with other students from the area.

photo by Rebecca Weiss

photo by Rebecca Weiss

CESJDS students participate in a JSA political convention located at JDS. They discussed many current issues with other students from the area.

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Junior Macie Gelb walked the streets of D.C. in the 2016 Women’s March, hoping to empower women across America.

For many CESJDS students, being engaged and involved in political events is commonplace. Students attend rallies, conventions, forms of protests and other politically-associated events during their JDS careers to voice their opinions and to be involved in national and global political discussions. 

Gelb also participated in the March for Our Lives this past March, a student-led event that focused on inspiring a younger generation of student leaders. The march was planned following the Parkland, Fla. school shooting in February. The march was held in Washington, D.C. and surrounded divisive and consequential issues in the modern American political debate. 

“I think that in today’s political climate it’s really important for people to keep fighting for what they believe in, especially since our country’s becoming so divided,” Gelb said. “So, it’s important for me to express my beliefs and to also show support for other people whose beliefs I share.”

Over the course of the school year, clubs such as Junior State of America, Model U.N. and debate take place inside and out of the JDS doors, enabling students to partake in different political experiences regarding both domestic and foreign policy matters. These programs serve as platforms for some students to voice their opinions while joining national political debates and discussions.

Sophomore Matthew Wieseltier is on the high school debate team, holds the position of state assemblyman for JSA and is also captain of the Model U.N. team. Wieseltier said that he values political engagement with his peers and takes part in these types of activities because of the fulfilling and enriching educational opportunities they offer.  

“I think it’s important for high school students to be involved with other high school students, especially politically, so that they can participate in the broader national political discourse and so they can grow up to be effective in advocating for their political beliefs,” Wieseltier said. “It’s especially important for us to engage in political discourse so that we can be critical of other people’s opinions and to also make our own opinions stronger by hearing others’ criticism.”

High School Principal and Associate Head of School Dr. Marc Lindner said he thinks many of the clubs, school field trips and academic courses at JDS are ways in which the school ensures an open political atmosphere in and out of school. Lindner added that JDS urges students to respectfully partake in political debates with their peers and to also accept opinions that are not theirs.

“As a school, our position and our approach is that we support and even encourage students to be involved in civics, in government, in all the various forms that it can take, including where it means that they have a particular viewpoint or perspective on those matters,” Lindner said.

This story was featured in the Volume 35, Issue 6 print edition of The Lion’s Tale, published on May 30, 2018.

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