Getting involved sends good message

Published 10:07 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Politics may not be everyone’s thing, but every adult citizen needs to have a basic knowledge of how the political process works and healthy awareness of what they can do to influence the process.

The current political climate, especially on a national level, invigorates some people and makes others want to check out completely. But as much as most reasonable people might like to steer clear of what often seems like an unreasonable process dominated by unreasonable people, it’s still the duty of every single citizen to be informed and, at least, to vote as best they can for candidates and issues presented to them on the ballot.

That’s why government is probably one of the more practical and yet important classes in the high school curriculum. It’s also best learned when actually getting involved rather than sitting at a desk.

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That’s the idea behind Sandra Babb, who teaches honors and Advanced Placement government at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, encouraging her students to get involved.

The classes came up with a list of ways they can learn about government by actually being involved. They included attending campaign events and City Council meetings, volunteering for campaigns and, most importantly, going to vote. As most seniors are already 18 or will be by the time the general election rolls around in November, this primary was the first time most of her students were able to vote.

Attendance at a Hillary Clinton rally paid off for student Nathan Soper earlier this week, when he got the chance to take a selfie with the candidate. The young voter, who was previously considering a career in math or science, now also is considering politics or law thanks to Babb’s class and her encouragement to get involved.

That’s the kind of life-changing experience that can happen when students see the real-world application of what they’ve learned in the classroom before they choose a major in college, which starts them down the path of what ultimately will become a career.

Good work to Babb and all of the teachers in Suffolk who are pushing their students to put what they learn into action.