By Kristie Rodriguez, Junior
Voting, paying taxes, following laws, and many responsibilities come from the enfranchisement of becoming an American citizen. Adults, more than anyone, commit much of their time and effort to ensuring a safe, stable, and healthy environment. The 2014 article, “The Meaning of U.S. Citizenship,” from the Los Angeles Times details that citizenship is an “individual's relationship to his/her country and thus strikes chords of nationalism and personal responsibility, duty and rights.”
Therefore, Miami Dade County Public Schools encourages us, the students, to be aware of these core values. The “Values Matter” program inspires and encourages students to promote the important principles of an exemplary citizen in society. You may ask yourself, how can students become better citizens?
The younger generation can improve their relationship with their country by contributing time to community service. Several volunteering opportunities are given to students through Miami Dade Public Schools. Here, at iPrep Academy, students in our honor societies have a chance to give back to the community by tutoring struggling students and assisting teachers with organizing schoolwork through the “Teacher’s Pet” program. Participating in clubs held at our school such as SAGA, SHAPE, Key Club, Girls Who Code, Robotics, and Speech and Debate are other ways of giving back to our community, while learning new things provided by these organizations.
Sexuality and Gender Alliance, also known as SAGA, supports and unites people of diverse sexual orientation and identification in an attempt to achieve peace in society. SHAPE Club engages students in philanthropic projects, as well as building leadership and problem solving skills, by exchanging ideas that will benefit them and their community in the future. Key Club, like SHAPE Club, focuses on finding community service opportunities for students while strengthening their leadership skills. The more students participate in holding club meetings and suggesting new ways of giving back to the community allows them to have an idea of what citizenship is. Girls Who Code encourages female students to practice computer skills at a young age in order to possibly inspire or achieve a STEM based career. Robotics Club also focuses in STEM skills and practicing inventive abilities. This program gives students the opportunity to create innovations through teamwork and participating in competitions that could award them recognition of their work as well as support future projects from potential inventors. Speech and Debate supports and recognizes the voices of the youth as members of this club enhance their argumentative and public speaking skills by participating in student debate competitions.
Ways of serving the community outside of school vary from participating in awareness projects, such as the Breast Cancer Walk, which takes place during this month of October, to volunteering at animal shelters in Miami. Students who aren’t involved in school-wide community service can find other ways to help the community through nation-wide organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club of America. The volunteering experience teaches students to give back to their immediate community and reinforces the importance of giving back to others for the sake of exemplifying productive citizenship for growing generations.