Foam exploded from the top of a sparkling juice bottle. Kids cheered, and the party was in full swing. Students were eating brownies and cookies, drinking Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper. Members of the newly-founded Young Republicans Club were celebrating the success the Republican party had in the Midterm elections on Nov. 4, the previous day.
The Republican party took 244 House seats and 53 Senate seats, claiming a majority in both the House and the Senate. The Democrats took 186 House seats and 44 Senate seats. Democrats had previously been in control, so this election turned the tables back to the republicans, so the club felt a party was in order.
It was the club’s second meeting, and creator junior Joe McLiney was pleased with the amount of kids that attended.
“We had around 30 students show up, which was what we were expecting,” McLiney said. “But we hope to get even more members and expand,”
McLiney was the one who initially thought of creating the club last year. Kids didn’t really seem interested. Since the school year was almost over, he put it off. After school started, he brought it back up. Joe bounced the idea off some of his friends in early October. He was then joined by four other junior boys, and teacher David Muhammad agreed to be the sponsor.
“When they first asked me about it, I laughed,” Muhammad said. “I didn’t think they were serious. But after they convinced me that they were, I decided to go ahead and do it. I think it’s very important for kids to be able to group up and talk about whatever they want.”
The four students who created the club with McLiney are juniors Baker Stradinger, Jack Johnson, Worth Blackman and Mark Ward. Johnson, Blackman and Ward serve as Vice Presidents, while Stradinger serves as the treasurer. On top of those duties, Ward is also the Secretary, and Blackman is the Promotions Officer. Their main goal is to expand the student body’s knowledge of the Republican party, and give kids an opportunity to get involved in community activities.
“We want to make sure we are being productive, not just sitting around,” McLiney said. “Some guys went out and held Yoder signs on the street to get car’s attention. A couple of other guys made calls to people urging them to get out and vote.”
Johnson, Ward and McLiney were some of the members who made calls to people. According to Johnson, he and the boys made around 50 calls each. Not many people answered, and most of the ones that did had already voted.
“The main point is that we were getting involved,” Johnson said. “We don’t want to be a club that just meets after school, we want to get out and do stuff for the community.”
The club doesn’t just help students learn about the republican party, Muhammad believes it makes them grow as individuals as well.
“I think it’s very important for students to have to ability to get together and talk about politics,” Muhammad said. “It’s good for them as kids to know the differences in political parties, and to form their opinions.”
Meetings are being held every Wednesday, and the club will discuss political issues going on throughout the world. According to McLiney, some of the recent topics have been ISIS, the election, Obamacare and the Keystone Pipeline.
“We really want to give students the opportunity to learn about the political issues in our country,” McLiney said.
When looking towards the future, McLiney and his partners hope to be popping more bottles of sparkling juice, eating more cookies and celebrating a successful Republican party.