A glimpse into America’s future

Presidents of the Young Democrats and Republicans answer club questions

United States made of political party symbols. Photo courtesy of Pixabay via Creative Commons.

United States made of political party symbols. Photo courtesy of Pixabay via Creative Commons.

Theo Drescher and Ashley Donohoe

Battlefield is known for being a welcoming place for students and staff alike. Students can mingle with friends, socialize, and most importantly, choose from the many clubs that Battlefield has to offer. Each club offers its own unique environment, where students can play a part in not only Battlefield’s community, but in their local community as well. Two such clubs are the Young Democrats Club and the Young Republicans. Each club offers students a chance to participate in the political world and be an active part of their party. The Young Democrats is headed by Carissa Kochan, and The Young Republicans by Teddy Howell. Both offer their insight on their clubs:


How do you think your club is contributing to your respective party as a whole?

Kochan: The purpose of Young Democrats is to give a voice to those who are too young to vote. My hope is that our club is energizing the youth and helping them realize that you are never too young to make an impact.

Howell: We help develop strong and factual arguments for young republicans to use in debate. We also challenge their current viewpoints to develop deeper thinking on certain topics. This helps our party become a more factually-based party rather than one of talking-points.


What is a common misconception about your club?

Kochan: A common misconception about Young Dems is that a student has to be fully committed to the Democratic Party to join. We have members that identify as independents or don’t really know which party they align with yet, which is totally okay! My hope is to give members an opportunity to talk about topics which they are passionate about and find common ground with others.

A common misconception of our club is that we are a club of talking-points. We inspire our club members to use fact-based arguments rather than emotionally-driven arguments. ”

— Teddy Howell


What projects are you working on right now?


Kochan: We are currently finishing up with election season. We had multiple members meet with Adele Jackson, a current school board member, on her first campaign. It was super exciting to see her win two weeks ago.

Howell: We offered door-knocking opportunities to our club members to get first-hand experience on campaigning and the political process. We also plan to hold joint meetings with the opposing side.


What are you trying out this year as leadership that differentiates from past years?


Kochan: This year, I’m passing on the roll of President and Vice President to two underclassmen, Makda Asgedom and Farrah Patterson respectively, as I am now a senior. My hope is that the club continues when I leave next year. Also serving on the leadership board are TJ Walters and Kelsey Ryan.

Howell: We are encouraging more debate this year and look at other viewpoints to help understand what others think and how we would respond to their arguments.


Are there any hardships you’ve experienced running a club based in politics?


It has been a challenge to motivate students. I have noticed that students tend to think the only way they can participate in the political process is through voting. It’s our goal to educate others on the importance of canvassing, phone banking, and researching.”

— Carissa Kochan

Howell: Politics, especially in today’s America, can be very polarizing. Some might dislike us for our political views, but our goal is to bring both sides together and eliminate anger in politics.


What incentivized you to become president of your club, especially one with political affiliations? 


Kochan: I founded the club during my freshman year, so it seemed natural to take on the role of President. The values that started behind the Young Democrats Club are ones that I strongly believe in . Being involved with a political party never bothered me.

Howell: I’ve always been very interested in politics and it is something I would like to get involved with one day. 


Is there anything you want for BHS to know about your club?


Kochan: The Young Democrats and Teenage Republicans are currently completing a service project together. This has been a great way to bring the two parties together and break some of the polarizing barriers that are center stage in national politics. Anyone is still welcome to join the Young Democrats or the joint meetings!

Howell: We are a club full of kind-hearted people and respect all views across all sides. All are welcome!