Monday, October 4, 2004

Hawaii's Schools

Senior Grace Bedient manages the poll books at the primary election.

Pupils take interest
in vote

Radford High School students defy
Hawaii youth voting statistics

Today's youth is not participating in democracy.

In 1972 the voting age was lowered to 18 from 21. Yet, youth voting has been on a steady decline since then, especially in Hawaii.

‘Hawaii’s Schools’

Each week, Hawaii's teenage reporters and photographers tell us about their high school. This week's school is Radford High School.

The RamPage
Editor in chief:
Ashley Beckstead
Faculty adviser:
Mary Ann Kurose
Next week:
Farrington High School

Ram Facts

Full name: Admiral Arthur W. Radford High School
Year established: 1957
Principal: Robert Stevens
Colors: Black and white with red trim
Mascot: Ram

In the 2000 presidential and 2002 midterm elections, Hawaii youth voters had the lowest 18-24 age group turnout in the entire country, with 22 percent.

However, three out of five RHS students interviewed said that they would vote when they came of age.

"It is the civic duty of all Americans to vote," said Steven Hoarn, a senior, "and I want to have a say in how my country is going to be run."

While statistics show that Hawaii youth is not getting to the polls, RHS students are planning to do otherwise.

"I think every vote counts," said Mike Davis, a senior. "I'm definitely voting."

As for the students who said they would not vote, their reasons vary.

"I just don't feel like it yet," said Sunny Belcher, a senior.

"I'm not really interested in politics right now," said senior Byron Koontz. "But if something was going to directly affect me, I would definitely vote on it. I'd also vote if a woman ran for president. I want a female president."

"I'll vote in the future if either candidate for president is promising to do something that would benefit me or save me from something stupid the other guy is doing," said Hoarn.

Students are voting of their own accord and proving that they have their own opinions on the candidates.

"My parents are Republican, and that doesn't fit in with my values," said Hoarn. "Kids should only vote if they have studied the issues and form an intelligent opinion on it. Don't vote just to say you voted."

With the general election approaching on Nov. 2, the need to get voters out to the polls is important.

"Everyone's telling me to vote," said senior Amanda Bush.

Davis said his parents are encouraging him to vote, and Koontz said his girlfriend would like him to do so as well.

Teachers, as well as students, are utilizing their right to vote.

"It is a privilege to vote. We're one of the few countries that is allowed to vote and express opinions without being punished for it," said Geemee Andrews, a teacher.

"I'm absolutely voting," said Harrington, "because there are people I don't want to see in office."

Teachers encourage their students to take initiative and participate in state and federal elections.

"I do tell my students of age to vote. If you don't do it, you can't complain about it," said Andrews.

Radford students, overall, differ from the rest of the state when it comes to voting. Where three out of five Radford students say they will vote, the statewide average is only one out of five.

"Things won't change if the young people don't vote. And some things need to be changed," said Harrington.

Whatever the reasons, RHS students are taking advantage of their rights and proving that not all Hawaii youth is oblivious to politics.

"It's just something I think is right," said Hoarn.


School works to earn
stamp of approval

Focus groups meet to document progress
for an accreditation team's visit this April

It has been three years since their last visit to Radford. However, RHS staff and faculty have been busy preparing for their return since then.

It is accreditation time again, where a high school accreditation team from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) will visit the Radford campus for three days in April.

According to the WASC Web site, accreditation evaluates the school's programs and student transcripts, and helps the school to improve these programs. Through a process of self-evaluation, and with the help of the accreditation team, the school can assess itself and thus better itself.

"Accreditation is a process for school improvement," said Toni Leahey, accreditation coordinator.

In preparation for accreditation, all faculty members are involved in one of six focus groups. Focus groups are made up of students, teachers and parents who meet monthly to address their group's specific criteria or standard for accreditation.

"Some things we are doing to prepare for accreditation are writing a self-study report," said Leahey. "We are also collecting data, like the latest test scores, to show student achievements."

In order to prepare themselves to receive the visiting WASC members, teachers post standards in their classrooms, participate in collegial observations and prepare samples of students' work to display.

Teachers also inform their students of the standards and the Expected School-wide Learning Results (ESLRs).

"Any teacher worth his or her salt should follow the ESLRs on a daily basis," said teacher Gwynn Johnson. "The administration should be able to drop in unannounced and see how these ESLRs are being implemented."

RHS also tries to involve the students in the process of accreditation. It is imperative for students to participate because accreditation affects them as much as the rest of the school.

Students can get involved by submitting student surveys, taking standards and schoolwork seriously, giving their class work their best effort and volunteering to be a member of one of six accreditation committees, which meet one Monday every month after school.

Accreditation is an important process because, according to ascwasc.org, many schools will only accept credits from other WASC-accredited schools. If Radford fails to become accredited, credits earned will become void, and many colleges, as well as mainland high schools, will not accept them. This would cause a plethora of problems for students planning to move or seek higher education.

Becoming a nonaccredited school will not only affect the students, but the teachers as well: According to information found at the WASC Web site, teachers will not receive credit for the years they teach at any nonaccredited school, and as such might not be hired by other, accredited schools.


You asked...

"What is your favorite possession?"

Mieshia Norris
"My necklace, because my grandma gave it to me for my birthday."

Justin Kershner
"Cell phone, because you can contact anybody you want."

Cambert Busano
"My low-ride bike, 'cause I made it out of scratch."

Chris Ashton
"My phone, because it's my communication to the outside world."

Mike Dominice
"My guitar, because it allows me to relieve stress in my life."

Chadney Thompson
"My baby ring, 'cause it's something I've had since I was a baby."

Megan Perkins
"My backpack, 'cause it holds everything that's special to me."

Upahar Rana
"My memories, because that's all I'll have in the end."

Johni Almoguera
"My mind, because no one can control it except for me."

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