ELLINWOOD — John Celock, Huffington Post writer, author, and founder of an online newspaper, spoke to Ellinwood High School students about the importance of becoming involved in the community to make a difference.
Celock, who grew up on the east coast, told the students that even though they’re young, their voice matters. One way students can be involved is through politics.
He has interviewed young people involved in politics from throughout the U.S. and listed why they got involved. Some of them began the political process at age 17.
Although he is from the New York City, New Jersey area, Celock said that he finds Kansas politics interesting because they are a microcosm of what is happenings in the remainder of the U.S. between the very conservative and more moderate side of the conservative party.
Also, something interesting is that, “You end up being able to elect people who are young,” said Celock, who noted some of the senators and representatives at the Kansas state level are in their twenties or early thirties. This is not the case in other states where youth find it easier to become involved in local politics first.
There are several reasons young people involve themselves in politics, he said. “Being young brings a new perspective.”
Family ties are one of the major reasons youth become involved, Celock said. He spoke of the Bushes and Kassebaums.
A second reason is idealism. One example, the speaker said, was ethics reform and how some younger members of the community would like to revitalize rural areas.
Desire also plays an important part of political involvement, as well as belief one can make a difference.
The Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, and church involvement are all ways to make the community a better place, Celock said.
Alumni associations also present opportunities for involvement. “You get more out of your membership by being involved,” said Celock.
Celock first traveled to Kansas in July after interviewing several people, as well as meeting people on social media. He said that Kansas has no stereotypes of the people, all of which he finds interesting.
He is currently visiting and traveling throughout the state and has written 300 stories about politics in Kansas.