Politics in Piper: Students take the initiative to create political clubs


Photo courtesy of Artsy

The Young Democrats club meets on the first Thursday of every month. The Young Republicans club meets on the fourth Thursday of every month.

Zoey Pudenz, Co Editor-In-Chief

Following the highly political year of the 2020 Presidential election, it was not uncommon for politics to be discussed in schools. This inspired many students to take the initiative of creating political-based clubs.

The Young Democrats and Young Republicans club were both created within the past year. At the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, alumna Olivia Sourivong and senior Anthony Alvarez created the Young Democrats club with advisors Daryl Graham and Katie Deneault. 

Graham is not only a Young Democrats sponsor but also the American Government teacher. He believes it is important for high school students to have political efficacy and that the Young Democrats club is another way to spread that.

“Political efficacy among 18-24-year-olds has historically been low,” Graham said. “This age demographic has the most fire and passion when it comes to issues they care about, but they have the lowest percentage of voter turnout compared to all other age groups.”

According to senior and Young Democrats president Anthony Alvarez, the ideals the club is based on the idea that all political affiliations deserve a place to meet and organize.

“I think politics are important everywhere since it affects every part of our lives,” Alvarez said. “It’s not only our duty but a safety measure for us to be informed on current events.” 

Following the creation of the Young Democrats club, the Young Republicans club was created by senior Braydon Vinson with advisors Matthew Reitemeier and Amy Crouse in August 2021. According to Vinson, he believes that Young Republicans is an opportunity for students to express their conservative ideals.

Vinson believed that creating a Young Republicans club was appropriate as there was already democratic representation within the school.

“I want to help students articulate logical arguments, and respectfully defend their beliefs,” Vinson said. “The political climate in America today is inexcusable, and it is sad to see so much hate from both sides that mainly arise from misunderstandings.”

Young Republicans sponsor Matthew Reitemeier believes high school is a prominent age to develop one’s self-identity and political identity. 

“It’s important to me to be able to give students a place and a way to get civically engaged in their community, state, and nation, and to be a part of something outside of the classroom,” Reitemeier said. “Political representation at every level of society is important, especially in high school.”

Young Democrats and Young Republicans both have a democratic direct line of succession which means there is an executive board consisting of a President and Vice President.

“I am passionate about democratic politics and I want to inform other students of the political issues at hand,” said senior and Young Democrats Vice President Olivia Blankenship. “I have leadership experience and I want to be a good role model for other students.”

Similar to Blankenship, senior and Vice President of Young Republicans Jake Huisman wanted to have a bigger role within the club by becoming a leader.

“I was offered Vice President by our president and founder Brayden Vinson and it is not something I want to be silent about,” Huisman said. “I thought it was necessary to have a Republican club since we also have a democratic one.”

Though both clubs have opposite political alignments, both want to show that it is capable of discussing politics without creating arguments.

“I believe that if I can help students be respectful about their beliefs, there will be less tension, and therefore less hatred towards each other,” Vinson said. “The reality is that we are all Americans and that we must be able to at least communicate with those who you don’t agree with politically.”

I am passionate about democratic politics and I want to inform other students of the political issues at hand

— Livi Blankenship

Similar to Vinson, communicating without debating on politics is an ideal Blankenship wants to show other Young Democrat members.

“I want to show that there are ways politics can be discussed without creating an argument or whole debate,” Blankenship said. “Politics can be civil with the right education level.”

The Young Democrats and Young Republicans club is also used as opportunities for students who are not sure of their political alignments to learn from each club.

“I want all my students to understand that they can make a difference but they have to participate,” Graham said. “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”

According to Alvarez, the best way to get into politics is to take action.

“Any start is a good start,” Alvarez said. “If you want to get involved there is no wrong avenue, just as long as you are doing something.”