Stevenson Spotlight 2.0 | Finally Registering
Posted on 02/24/2016
Stevenson Spotlight 2.0

Editor's Note: In this month's edition of the Stevenson Spotlight 2.0, columnist Autumn Miller ('16) shines a light on the Stevenson PTSA's recent voter registration effort and what that means for her and her fellow seniors.

Finally Registering
by Autumn Miller ('16)

      Being the 18-year-old that I am and having a little bias towards my age group, I’d like to believe that my peers and I are an intelligent bunch. One thing I should clear up, though, is the definition of intelligent in this particular scenario. I don’t mean the synonym that describes “a 4.5 GPA student who takes 5 AP classes all while being captain of the Quiz Bowl team while simultaneously saving the world” (I suppose my own personal dreams have just been revealed). By intelligent, I mean “an informed group of young adults who care about the world around them and are aware of the issues that today’s society faces.” Knowing how their college education will pan out and what will happen with pressing issues like women’s reproductive rights are things that my peers and I care to educate ourselves on, especially with the election of a new president on the horizon in November 2016. Like every previous generation, we believe that our generation is full of loud, powerful, and knowing voices that beg to be heard. Being the go-getters that our parents have raised us to be, the Stevenson population knew that one great way to start to get our ideas across is to simply register to vote.

This past month, the Stevenson PTSA coordinated with the Livonia city clerk’s office (as part of the initiative of new Livonia mayor Dennis Wright) and came to Stevenson (along with Franklin and Churchill) during lunch time, in order to give qualifying students (those who are 18 by November) the opportunity to register to vote. The sign-up process was quick and simple, mainly due to the fact that the that the dreaded three-hour line at the Secretary of State was totally avoided. All that one had to do was bring their driver’s license (or Social Security number and valid ID if they didn’t have one), and fill out a registration form.

All in all, the whole effort was a great success. Compared to last year, this year, potentially ignited by the tough Presidential competition, ended up having a much larger crowd. A total of 125 Stevenson students registered to vote, according to numbers from Brad Kadrich from the Livonia Observer. This great of a turnout isn’t just a number, but it says something about our generation and what values we hold. Assistant Principal Mrs. Ani Akaraz noted its significance, saying that “This shows a group of kids who are more invested in their future. They are more informed, and they can actually be active within their community.” The observations that she made are ones that used to be fairly uncommon but are increasingly changing. Data shows that since Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign, youth involvement in the government has been on the rise. Presidential and congressional candidates value the power of the young voice. They have begun to understand that my generation isn’t filled with some no-good teens who blast their rap music far too loudly and sometimes bad mouth their parents (though all teens are guilty of doing this here and there), but a demographic that’s going to be heard and actually listened to, and be the leaders of this great nation that we all live in. Their vote is just as important as your average 50-year-old dad named Steve, and our opinions and ideas are just as strong. Political candidates understand that we aren’t joking around and that the upcoming election is as serious to us as our weekly Parks and Recreation binge-watching sessions.

On a more personal note, the massive turnout of new voters at Stevenson not only makes me proud that I attend a school where my peers care about the world around them, but it makes me proud to be 18 and college-bound. Knowing that I’m part of a generation that’s filled with aware and colorful minds gives me an optimistic outlook on what kind of world we’ll live in when our 20-year high school reunion rolls around. Having a clean, sustainable environment and logically and thoroughly going over how taxes should be divvied up are things that our opinionated generation has clear-cut and concise opinions about, and that shows that, yeah, maybe we do have our act together after all. Regardless of our occasional tardies to homeroom and the Friday nights that unexpectedly turn into Saturday mornings, Stevenson’s seniors are a group of individuals that may leave more than just a footprint on this Earth, and that’s a class I’ll be proud to be part of when I mark up my first ballot.