Published : Tuesday, April 24, 2018 | 2:50 PM
Although Friday’s National Student Walkout encouraged many students to leave their classrooms to protest gun violence, Immaculate Heart High School and Middle School observed the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting by focusing on civic engagement.
Each year, students and faculty at Columbine High School hold a day of service to honor the lives of 12 students and one teacher lost in the 1999 tragedy. Immaculate Heart students chose to respect that tradition by organizing activities that encouraged their political involvement.
“While many students across the country were walking out, we also wanted to take part in the action in a more targeted and direct way,” Immaculate Heart Student Body President Mia Speier, a senior, said. “We decided that having an activity period where students can directly engage in the political process would be the most effective. I think it’s important for students to understand that although we may be young, there are still so many ways to amplify our voices and take part in the political process.”
In fact, each activity was designed to show students how to make their voices heard. In groups, students drafted statements and then called their representatives to express concerns about issues important to them, including gun control. Student leaders also directed group discussions on current events, including how students could take action both politically and personally to make a difference in their community.
“I really enjoyed the discussion portion, as it allowed us to share our opinions on a wide range of things in small groups,” sophomore Cordelia Edwards said.
Students learned about the voting process as well, including how to register, how to find out about upcoming elections, and how to vote in those elections. Students 16 and older even pre-registered or registered to vote.
For senior Natalie George, the event gave her a new appreciation for her own ability to engage in the political process.
“It was great to be able to learn ways in which we could be active in government,” she said. “Kids are often silenced when it comes to these issues we’re regarded as immature, or uninformed. But this event showed that we can be informed and involved, and it’s the power of our voices that will truly make a difference in our country.”
About Immaculate Heart
Founded in 1906, Immaculate Heart High School & Middle School educates young women in grades sixth through 12th from its central location in the Los Feliz foothills near Griffith Park in Hollywood. The school has a long and distinguished history, with more than 10,000 graduates. Today’s student body of more than 700 young women is both geographically and ethnically diverse, drawing on students from throughout Los Angeles County. Last year, virtually 100 percent of Immaculate Heart graduates matriculated to colleges, including the most prestigious schools in the country.