Hello all, my name is CT, and I attend the 10th grade at Northview High School. I have learned many things at school, but I have yet to be taught about society and the real world. See, only the essentials of government were taught when I took the AP United States Government course, granted, it did introduce me to our founding fathers and their magnum opus, but which didn’t teach me the important stuff, political participation and how exactly to express my beliefs on the estrade of modern-day discourse. And in my language classes I am taught how to see the world through only one lens; you can guess which one that is. The point is, school did not prepare me for the political real world.

Then my mom told me about the RNC event on September 28, and all of that changed. I had the incredible opportunity to work as the lead usher for the duration of the talk, but while I worked with my assistants in seating many wonderful people, I could not help but pick up on the talks. Later, when we finished seating everyone and I got to sit down, did I become invested. I learned about the tax cuts and jobs act, signed into law by our great president. I learned about the three principal pillars of the Republican party; that is, limited government, personal responsibility, and lower taxes. I learned about the terrors of gang violence threatening our most vulnerable here in the State of Georgia and efforts being pursued to stop these. And most importantly, I learned about the work of our president in trade and diplomacy, fighting for our workers and our economy, unlike previous presidents who’ve been intent, or at least ignorant, on tearing it down. The speakers were knowledgeable and welcoming and so I felt myself gradually integrating into the Republican mindset. They had a sense of passion that I was awed by, a passion for what they said, a passion for our community, and a passion for our country.

In the second part of the talks, my eyes were opened to the grand history of the Grand Old Party, and how we were at the forefront of many anti-slavery and pro-civil rights legislations, and that in many cases the Democrats were trying to thwart our efforts. I learned about the evils of the alienating Affirmative Action and how important legal immigration was and still is, both of which have an impact on me and my fellow Asian-Americans.

The last portion consisted of how an individual citizen like any of us could even hope to impact Washington in our favor. Tactics I internalized included canvassing and event-based and door-to-door registration, all of which increase voter turnout.

But none of this would have happened to me if I weren’t active in my community and being a volunteer. My volunteering career started in elementary school, and each year since, I have completed around 10 hours. In recent years, however, I took an elevated interest and have been averaging 30 hours of volunteer work per year. I have been responsible in organizing a panel with my friends to educate young students about the merits of leadership and community service. I have frequented food banks across Georgia, even one in Tennessee. I am also in the process of leading a college tour for fellow students in a non-profit for youth leadership called C5 Georgia. I have led many of my peers in organizing many parties. This entails serving food to a few hundred people, and cleaning up afterwards. Even through all this, though, there is still much about service that I have yet to learn, and I’m currently aiming to perform 50 hours by the end of the school year.

I feel like without volunteer work and charity, many would still live in squalid conditions. The main takeaway from volunteering for me is not the recognition, but the warm feeling I get when I know I am doing good for other people, if only just one. I feel that we can maintain doing good in our state, our country, if we each devote even a little bit of our time towards a common cause. This is a crucial moment in our country’s history, and we should continue to seize the day and make an impact on our society, whether through politics or volunteering.

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