Over the past year, Middletown High School has turned its students into registered voters under the Governor’s Civic Engagement Program. On Thursday, they won the gold level recognition in the program.
“Back during the presidential election year during 2016, only 31 percent of 18- and 19-year-old high school students registered to vote, and of those 31, only 28 percent came out to vote,” said Robert Torres, Pennsylvania’s Acting Secretary of State.
Aayushi Patel is one of a few student leaders that rounded up the troops and helped her classmates vote.
“Voting is important, and the more people we get out there to vote, the more accurate representatives we have in our state,” said Patel.
Although Parkland students are leading the charge by launching their own nationally recognized campaign to vote, Middletown students say their initiative was self-motivated.
“If we had known the Parkland students were doing that, of course it would have inspired us a thousand times more because those kids are incredible, but it is on its own a good cause to get people to vote, especially younger voters, because it’s really important,” said Adriene Funck, a fellow Middletown student.
Students say Generation Z receives negative attention through the popularity of fads like the Tide Pod challenge, but that’s not who they are.
“People who are the worst end up being the representative and make up the stereotype for all. That kind of happened to our generation, and it probably happened to past generations, as well,” said Patel.
Their biggest worries may be calculus and track meets, but pretty soon, they will be the voice of our country.
“By 2024, they’re going to be 10 percent of eligible voters. So, that’s a lot of power and influence,” said Torres.
“I hope what we’ve done can show that freshman and just other schools in general that it’s really not that difficult to learn about politics and learn how to vote and do all these sorts of things,” said Funck.