As students, our voices are particularly important when it comes to politics and social issues. We are learning something new every day, and everyday we get closer to embracing the real world. Fourteen students from Sunnyside High School, myself included, recently had the great opportunity to attend a town hall meeting just for teens. We had the chance to express our concerns to local leaders from all around Pima County. Many students asked questions and expressed their concerns about education, employment, and Common Core.

After the leaders were introduced, a 17 year old young man went to the microphone and explained his family’s struggle with Common Core. He spoke from personal experience, and also talked about his sister getting bad grades in math when the tough Common Core problems were applied. We then heard from a teacher sitting in the middle of the audience, and he gave his input, “ he implied that common core is a teacher’s choice.

Towards the end of this meeting, tensions rose and a student spoke of discrimination against LGBT students in the Amphitheatre School District in Pima County. He spoke about his own personal experiences of being discriminated against, by his own school’s administrators because of his sexual orientation. There was a clash between a board member and the student. It was resolved by the board member stating that, “ he was going to speak to the administrators and step it up on anti-discrimination policies in the Amphitheatre School District”.

I, as a student from Sunnyside High School, went to the microphone and expressed my concerns regarding the fact that all of the local leaders that were there were affiliated with the Democratic party. There were no local Republican leaders attending. I spoke briefly to the auditorium half-filled with students, teachers,and leaders; stating, “ I believe that all of the students here deserve to hear from both political parties on education, I believe we deserve to hear from the state legislators who support the defunding of education.”

Events like town halls and youth involvement activities provide a gateway to an equal society, one that allows every voice to be heard in the political arena. We youths should use our voices to be heard, because we are important. And yet sometimes,even though our voices may be important, are we really heard?