In our high school kids discuss many things – like classes, new clothes and video games. One thing you do not often hear in the halls is deep discussion about politics. For this reason, junior Dominic Leonardo and Nick Barnes and Senior Kyle Flavin, students who are interested in politics, decided to start a club in which political issues could be discussed in a controlled environment. The club they founded, the Teenage Republicans club, seemed the perfect way for these students to express themselves. The club meets on Tuesdays with Mr. Anderson. The goal of the club is to get people interested in politics and understand both sides of the issues affecting the government – both liberal and conservative.
At a typical meeting, the club studies issues that are at the forefront of discussion in American government. The club then relates the issues to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and from there they decide what they would do to remedy these problems. For instance, the challenges that have come about as a result of the nation’s economic problems have been the most prominent discussion topics. Mr. Anderson and the members of the club have discussed steps that the country can take to relieve some of our problems.
“A free market with less regulation, and cutting of corporate and personal taxes along with drilling for oil and using natural gas in the United States will create jobs and will allow for the U.S. to become energy independent,” stated Mr. Anderson.
Dominic Leonardo has taken the lead in recruiting and promoting enthusiasm for the club. He looks up to several Republican leaders, but he has a few favorites.
“We especially look up to people like John Boehner,” says Dominic Leonardo, “He’s the epitome of the American Dream because of his successful political career and the way he got there.”
Dominic and the other club members feel that the Republican Party has taken the nation’s core values to heart and work to keep them alive. He wants other students to get involved. In fact, that has happened recently when another group, the Young Democrats, was formed.
“I like the fact that we have inspired more kids to become politically active," he stated.
So how do the members of the Teenage Republicans feel about the fact that they are founded around a political party that is in the minority in both East Providence and Rhode Island as a whole?
We just have to keep working for what we believe in," stated Domenic. "A lot of kids say 'That makes no sense. You can’t even vote', but I let them know that it’s important to be informed."
Dominic has also found some of his teachers have provided encouragement despite not necessarily agreeing with his political views.
"(U.S. History teacher) Mr. Martin is happy that we are getting into politics. He gives me his side and I sometimes argue a political point with him. It has been interesting."
The Teenage Republicans Club welcomes all EPHS students to club meetings to discuss topics provided by newspaper articles, televised congressional hearings, and the addresses made both to the state and Nation.
"Liberals are not bashed and their input and ideas are even welcomed. In fact, we would like, at the end of the year, to have a debate with the newly started Democrat club," stated Dominic.
Whether or not such a debate happens, the founding of these clubs will spark more interest in politics for the future voters of EPHS. The Teenage Republicans hope that students will lean to make informed decisions rather than believing only what the media feeds them through television.