High school is a pivotal point in a student’s life. Students will learn either to embrace education, or shun it. Opportunities will be created, or destroyed. Relationships between peers, teachers, and mentors made in high school will shape and influence the rest of the student’s life. For all these reasons, student’s need to have at least a basic understanding of politics.
Politics, while perhaps not the first subject that comes to mind when discussing politics, is none the less an important introduction to a student’s understanding of politics in general. In addition, classroom politics can have an immediate effect on student’s social and educational lives.
The sooner that a student understands the social forces at work around them, the better. The “in” crowd, class presidents, popularity, and many, many more facets of high school life are determined by politics. A more childish version of politics, yes, but the proportions remain the same. Equal opportunities should not be expected without work: Life never hands you opportunity, you must carve it out yourself. This life lesson is one that should be learned at an early age.
Politics in general affect every part of an adult’s life. Pay raises, job applications, elections, and more are influenced, if not outright controlled, by politics. No high school student should be allowed to develop the idea that politics will “have no practical use for me”, even if they have no ambitions to go into any sort of political field, a basic understanding of politics will help them understand how the world around them works, and help them to get more out of the world around them. The old adage, “Knowledge is Power”, is one hundred percent true. How can anyone expect to have the ability to function in a world affected so drastically by politics when they have no concrete knowledge of politics? The simple answer, of course, is that they can’t.
Speeches for organizations like the Optimist Club and American Legion provide a great way to students to conduct research that will increase their understanding of the political world while earning rewards and money at the same time. These valuable experiences can lead to not only more knowledge of politics, but an interest, and perhaps even appreciation of politics.
Students may also be able to find volunteer activities to earn community service that deal directly or indirectly with politics. Once again, even little experiences like this can help in the future. Knowledge is power, and since our country runs on politics, it makes sense to be knowledgeable about politics.