Parish Government

Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

Impact Statement – Kate, Aaron, Nathan, Alexis

In Impact on November 16, 2010 at 8:12 am

Our group as a whole feels as though young Americans of today’ society are not necessarily uninvolved in politics on a voting standard, instead there is a recurring lack of belief that young Americans can truly have a voice. Our survey showed that while many of the students cared, they felt as though they had no voice and even if they were of voting age they would still feel as if they would not have a strong voice because it is only one vote. They also expressed great concern toward the fact that there is a lack of acceptance by the older generations. Often times they ignore or see the youth’s point of views as insignificant because the older generations believe that the youth of America do not care about politics. The article we submitted to the Preston Hollow People will show people of all ages that younger Americans do care about politics. It is our goal to change their minds and see the population of young Americans as new and fresh ideas rather than unconcerned adolescents as they have previously been labeled.

Not only will these ideas of misinterpretations about young people influence older Americans, but also it will show the young Americans that their ideas and opinions do matter if they are willing to voice them and prove themselves. In our survey we asked a series of questions such as: do you care about politics?, do you feel you have a voice in the political process?, do you feel as though politics affects your daily life?, do you pay attention to current affairs?, and would you care more if you had a stronger voice in the political process? The responses showed that 68 percent of the students interviewed do care about politics and 76 percent of students agree that politics plays a role in and affects daily life. Although, 64 percent felt as though they do not have a voice in the political process, 72 percent said that if they were to have a stronger voice they would care much more.  These surveys brought up conversations about politics and we were able to explain to the students who were did not care them the importance of being involved in one-way or another. We also encouraged that people make a voice for themselves rather than waiting around for someone else to give them one.  Although we only have the responses to 25 individuals, many of the people interviewed were sitting with other people who heard the entire conversation and were also able to benefit from the ideas and concerns presented. With the survey results we will be able to prove to older generations that America’s youth does care.

As a way to make these results easily accessible we submitted a summary of our research and survey results to the Preston Hollow People. Many people within the Preston Hollow community read this news publication. Our submission is short and concise with a message to readers of all ages. To the older generations we hope to instill a sense of open mindedness toward the ideas and opinions of younger Americans. To those younger Americans our goal is to show them they can have a voice if they become involved and are not afraid to share their opinions. It is our goal to impact everyone that reads this article to realize that America’s youth has been mislabeled and if they are listened to they may have valuable, new ideas that our country can benefit from.


Global Perspectives – Kate, Aaron, Nathan, Alexis

In Action on November 16, 2010 at 8:11 am

Our project started off by tackling the political action questions from a worldwide perspective, examining the trends of the younger voters and participants in Brazil, Canada, Germany, and Iran.  We learned that in most of these countries youth political participation is much higher than in the United States.  We asked questions that related to these conclusions about the world’s youth in our surveys, and we mentioned them in our article we submitted to the Preston Hollow People, which has not yet been published.  We created a Facebook group that has a link to our project Google site, and we created an email address for responses to be submitted via email.

We surveyed twenty five of the kids in our upper school about many of the aspects of political action.  We asked them if they were involved in the political process, if they kept up with current events and issues, and we asked them whether or not they felt politics had any affect on their day-to-day lives.  Our survey caused many of these young Americans to think about their role in the political process.  We forced them to think about how they view politics in general.  We caused them to call their own sense of political obligation into question.  We influenced the minds of these young Americans to think about politics in general.  This can be interpreted as a form of impact.  These young Americans, who are typically oblivious to the political process and what it entails, were forced either to admit their oblivion or were forced to demonstrate their knowledge of politics while taking the survey.  They thought deeply about how they could become involved and even if they felt it were possible for them to become involved.  Our questions and our surveys demonstrated an intangible form of impact.

After gathering research and developed our own ideas we submitted an essay to the neighborhood news publication, The Preston Hollow People.  This news publication is known for its references to many activities in many schools.  They were very interested in our project and they liked our essay we submitted.  We officially submitted our essay on Friday, November 12.  This publication is read by many people within the Preston Hollow community and generates a lot of talk and interest.  Once our article is published, it is fair to say that it could be read by many people.  This generates the same sort of impact as our surveys did.  It will cause many of the readers to ponder their role in the political process and how they can expand their participation and the participation of others.

Our group has created a Facebook group named, Political Action Project, and an email address,  Our Facebook group is an open group, allowing anyone to become a member.  On the group page, there is a link to our project’s Google site, which was a guideline for the project, and we have given out our email address.  Our Facebook group has over 170 members, which is tangible evidence of an impact.  Our email address also allows for responses for any of our group’s members that do not want their responses to be made public.  All though we have not received any emails, we certainly hope to in the future.  Our Facebook group and email address allows for the public to interact with our group directly and allow for our group to publish ideas and solutions.

Our group has demonstrated forms of tangible and conceptual impact through our efforts with our political action project.  Our surveys and article cause readers to think about their participation in the political process and their role within it.  Our Facebook group has demonstrated a tangible form of impact with our 170+ members.  Our email account has the potential to eventually demonstrate a physical form of an impact as our Facebook group and article gain public interest.  We have created a project that has demonstrated an impact and has the potential to increase and expand our impact as our project increases interest.

The Impact of Community – Zander and Henri

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm

The impact of Strong Youth, Weak Voices correlates directly with the involvement of the youth of our community. Because it is primarily a forum and viewer-centered Youtube series, without certain levels of involvement by youth between 14 and 24, SYWV is nothing. Therefore, SYWV is much like a train: it requires great time and energy to get rolling, but once rolling, it should not stop until it reaches its destination; in this case, a primary and leading political youth group.

At this time, the SYWV forum has received over 110 visits, and has 10 members. These numbers may seem insignificant, but they will grow, and as they grow, the enticement for others to join the forum will grow. Similarly, in terms of numbers, the message portrayed in the videos of Strong Youth, Weak Voices has reached over 60 –61 to be exact– people as well, while the Youtube user page itself has received 117 views, and one subscriber. On a smaller scale, the blog page of SYWV has received 15 visitors. In total, SYWV has been visited over 300 times in one aspect or another.

At SYWV, it is a primary idea that every person makes a difference, whether it be their vote, or them being influenced. Seeing how SYWV has reached over 300 youth, it shows what a significant change it has made.

The most important indication of the impact that SYWV has had on the youth of America is the distance in which it has traveled. On the various sites and groups, SYWV has appeared in six different states: Texas, California, Minnesota, New Mexico, Tennessee and Rhode Island. Also, the members of the forum are not only in our community of Dallas, but San Antonio, Austin and Albuquerque as well. A similar indication of the scope of SYWV is the fact that the interviews seen on Youtube by SYWV, were not performed in Dallas, but rather San Antonio, showing the activism that SYWV has inspired in the youth that it reaches.

Also, the impact of SYWV can be perceived in the further interest that peers have shown in the activity. The person that performed the interviews has shown interest in doing more, and has indicated that she will implore her friends, relatives and peers to do the same. That being said, the future of SYWV voices could be seen in promising projections of increased forum members, active Youtube viewers and subscribers and blog visitors.

SYWV could currently be compared to a small forest fire. However, the thing about a forest fire  is that, if left unchecked, could spread and rage for great distances and time. SYWV has already showed similar traits in the distance that its message has traveled. And also, a forest fire in a field of dried nettles would become furious. SYWV is the forest fire, and the uninformed youth of America are the nettles.

Impact Statement – Shahrukh, Meghan, Tanner, and Erin

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I think we can all agree that voter turnout in the United States is not as high as it should be; not only in presidential elections, but also in local elections. There are many reasons that could lead to inadequate voter turnout. Some people just do not care about elections, others do not approve of voting methods, but the main reason is a lack of political efficacy. Political efficacy is defined as a “sense of own influence or effectiveness in politics.” Therefore, a lack of political efficacy is to believe that one’s single vote would not make a difference in the result of an election. This is when political action comes into play. Political action is not only participating in political processes, such as elections, but also making an impact and promoting your ideas to the public by speaking your voice. It is true that much of the United States population cannot vote because of age, but that shouldn’t stop high school students from influencing others to vote and increasing voter turnout.

Our group, “Take a Step, Make a Change,” carried out a project to make an impact on the voter turnout for the November 2, 2010 election. Our project consisted of interviewing young and old Americans, asking them basic questions about our country and about their participation in politics. Regardless of their answer, we informed them about voting and the impact that their one vote can have. To prove this to them, we showed them evidence of the 2000 Bush v. Gore election. Although Al Gore won the popular vote, he did not win the election because George Bush won the electoral vote. The election came down to the state of Florida, which Bush won by .01%. Our interviewees realized that their vote can make the difference in an election. We knew that we had reached our goal because our interviewees each pledged to “spread the word to vote.”          

In conclusion, anybody can make a difference when it comes to politics. It is not necessary to be able to vote or to be in a political action committee. One can make an impact by urging people to speak their own voice and trying to increase voter turnout. As we proved, a very small amount of votes can turn an election around. We took the step and made a change and now we urge everybody to take a step and make a change.

Impact Statement – Alanna, Kendall, Katherine

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Our group wanted to make an impact on young adults. This group’s political action has been meaningful through our video and Facebook page. Our video was the main tool we used to effect people. It showed how little young adults actually know about common government knowledge, political affairs and most importantly how they don’t feel a need to get involved. This showed young adults lack of political efficacy. Reasons said for why young adults don’t vote ranged from not being informed about politics to not caring about going to the polls. The one that seemed most common was that the students thought their vote wouldn’t make a difference, and that’s why they weren’t involved or voting. We took that lack of political efficacy and involvement and centered all those thoughts into our Facebook page. We put the statistics on of the percent of young adults that actually voted in the last election and stated that these numbers need to be higher. These things, the video and Facebook page, made our project meaningful because it showed real people’s views and real statistics to actually make people think. Also using recognizable people from around the Parish Episcopal School helped students connect with the thoughts of the people who were interviewed.

Our impact was made through everything we did, but made concrete in our Facebook page. There are a total of 61 people who liked it, and a total of 76 people looked at it. This means that 76 people looked at our page and saw how young adults need to make a change. Our slogan was “One Vote. One Pledge. Make a difference.” This meant that when people liked the page they made a pledge to vote when they were of age. Our impact was on 61 people liking it; that means an extra 61 people are going to vote when they are of age. We had 27 people watch our video, which means 27 people are informed of how uneducated young Americans are and how they need to look to themselves to make a change. We also put to “like” our YouTube video on Facebook if you agree we need to make a change in the involvement of young adults in government; we had a total of 8 people like this. Our impact was showing those people how we need a change, and seeing how little our generation knows. We were able to inform 76 people about how uninvolved or uneducated young adults are, and hopefully they will pass it on to others so that more young adults know just how much of a change there needs to be.

Take a Step, Make a Change – Meghan M, Tanner P, Shahrukh L, Erin D

In Action on November 5, 2010 at 4:24 pm

To make a change, you must first understand why a change is needed. The problem is that most of the younger eligible voters in America choose not to vote. What is the solution to this problem? The answer is for everyone to vote. The group’s political action project has been meaningful and impactful because we challenged the minds of those we questioned, the group impacted the people that were questioned, and the people that were questioned pledged to spread the word to vote which will cause a domino effect. We tried to make an impact and we did by making a video and asking for those we talked to, to pledge to spread the word.

For each of the people we talked to, we asked them to answer questions about the country that citizens should know. In all of the government classes, everyone took the citizenship quiz. A lot of people came to find out that as citizens they did not know as much, if they did not study, as people studying for the actual citizenship test to become a new citizen of the United States. The group decided to ask questions that may be on the citizenship test. As the questions were asked, people struggled with different questions. The one everyone struggled with was the first question. No one seemed to get the first question that was asked which was, The House of Representatives has how many voting members? Since people, even teachers, did not know the answer, it resulted in guessing different numbers. In general, some of the citizenship questions were hard to answer and some were answered correctly by at least most of the people questioned.

The whole purpose of this project was to impact people. The group’s saying was, “Take a Step, Make a Change.” The group wanted to change the perspective of the people on United States Politics for the better. By informing people about the problems of voting turnouts today, the group is helping solve the problem for tomorrow. We told the people we questioned different facts letting them know how their vote could make a difference by stating different facts from past voting percentages, such as the 2008 nation’s eligible voting turnout which was only 61.6%. This was shocking to them. What also shocked them was the 2000 Presidential election between George Bush and Al Gore. George Bush won Florida which was the deciding factor in the 2000 Presidential Election. For everyone that heard how much the vote in this state counted, they were surprised. They learned that one vote could count. George Bush won by only 1%. This could mean we could have had a different President. If at least 400 more people voted, Al Gore would have one the popular vote. That is not a lot of people. This showed people that their vote really does count in circumstances just like the Florida Presidential Election. This was what shocked people the most and made them think about how they should vote.

At the end of the video, we asked everyone to pledge to spread the word to vote. Everyone pledged to spread the word. This will cause a domino effect. Since each pledged to vote, they will spread it to at least one person they will know, and this may influence them to vote and they may spread it, and so on. If this happens, this may cause more people to vote, at least in the Dallas area. Youtube is used by many people all over the world. As more people come to watch it in the United States, the more people become influenced throughout the United States instead of being inside the boundaries of the downtown area. This project can be ongoing instead of having an ending date. The movie may have ended, but now let the word spread.

The way the group tried to impact people and spread the word about the problem of young eligible Americans not voting was by a video. We not only made it and interviewed different people, but the group also put it on youtube for people to see. The group decided to put it on youtube so that the impact would not just stay within the boundaries of the people we told and the people they told, but throughout the United States. There may be a problem, but for every problem, there should be an answer to fix it. Some take a long time, and one small group may not be able to impact people to vote all over the United States, but a group can certainly try.

Impact Statement – Iram M, Elianah G, George R

In Impact on November 5, 2010 at 4:17 pm

In our project, as said before, we were assigned to get our voices heard in politics or the community. Our group decided to fix a road. Some may say that has nothing to do with politics but it does have to do with fixing an important part around community. The road being fixed is called FM544. This road is particularly very bad because it has many potholes and ditches that cause accidents. We thought it was bad enough to call the mayor of the city to get this problem fixed. Although it was very hard to get through to him, we still tried but were tossed from person to person. We were sent to the department of transportation, but Gary Bailey was not responding well to us. Therefore, we went back to the Mayor to try again. He responded eagerly, but the time wasn’t allowing us to follow through. The groups’ political action has been meaningful and impactful because it actually got people to realize how messed up the road is. Also, it got people to read our petition and take the time out of their day to actually sign and consider it. My group put out petitions saying how we were looking forward to fix the road and solve the problem. So far, we picked up two petitions that were full of numbers, addresses and peoples’ names saying how they agree the road should be fixed. Each page contained ten different rows for people to fill out with their name, number, and address. There were still fifteen other petitions in other places with the same results we hoped for. 

The project was a success because the community of Castle Hills gathered to fill out the petitions we made. This showed that a group of teenagers could actually have a say in politics and do something about community problems. It was nice to know our petitions got word out to people to see a problem and be fixed. If it wasn’t for the group and I, the people probably would have kept patching up the pot holes and gone on with their normal lives living with a dangerous rode that could cause more and more accidents. This proves teens not only have to do something beyond measures to get their voices heard out publicly. But, they could simply fix a problem within their community and get people involved as well.

Lobbying the Mayor – Iram M, Elianah G, and George R

In Action on November 5, 2010 at 4:15 pm

This project is to show that teens have a voice in the community. Most teens our age are unaware of the political complications happening in our society. Therefore, we picked this project because we feel that the city needs to repair a local road called FM544. Many accidents have been caused by the potholes, and the road decay, along with the narrowness of the rode.  Previously being a truck route, FM544 is dangerous due to the abundance of trucks traveling to and from the rock quarry. For example of how dangerous it possibly could be, one of our partners was actually in an accident due to the extensive time the truck took to pull out of the rock quarry; she was rear-ended by a woman turning the corner at 50 miles per hour.

With this project we believe that by achieving the city’s cooperation in repairing the road with us, we can improve our communities’ safety and show other teens that we have a voice.

For our plan we knew we would need some way to get the community to participate so we created petitions explaining our goal to get FM544 fixed. We thought that once anyone read the petition it would cause a chain reaction. That person would tell someone that they know that a group of kids are doing a project to fix the back road everyone dreads to drive on. There is no one in our community who does not know about the back road and how terrible the pot holes are. Our goal for this project is to get our voices heard. With the fifteen petitions we set out along with the video we made and uploaded onto youtube, people will see it and see that teenagers are taking action and trying to make a difference within the community. FM 544 consists of all the pot holes and uneven grounds along with the dangerous entries, exits, and turns.  All the cars and trucks that drive on it are put in danger taking into account the speed of the cars and bumpy ground. This road has not only caused severe car crashes that total vehicles, but also fatal crashes that lead to death. More houses are being built around the road, and more and more people are driving on it. The quick patch ups of the pot holes are becoming very ineffective with consequences of tire damage, alignment damage, engine damage and much more. We want this road to be a safe place to drive. We hope to reach this goal by showing the city evidence of how much we care about this topic and how the many people that drive on the road also care about it too. We will give them evidence of the pot holes we talk about by showing them a video taken by the group on a ride down FM544, also by all the signatures on the fifteen petitions we set up around the community. We will try to persuade them and make our voices heard as well as we can.

Pledge to Vote – Kendall H, Katherine D, and Alanna M

In Action on November 5, 2010 at 3:57 pm

How will we get young adults more involved in the political process? That was the question that our group was determined to answer and change. We then began to brainstorm, on our wiki we looked at links about other young adults who are making a difference in the political process; this inspired us. After brainstorming for a while both with each other and through our Google sites we came up with an idea. An idea we felt will help us address this issue. We were going to inform our peers about how as a generation we need to become more politically involved. By doing so we will not only make our generation more aware, but we will also encourage them to make a pledge to vote and become more politically.

Our first step was to make a Facebook page that showed how our generation lacked political efficacy and that talked about how this was a problem that needs to be changed. We titled the Facebook page, “Pledge to vote.” If someone liked our page, they make a pledge that they will be more politically involved and vote as soon as they are of age. This Facebook page consisted of a video and a description that consisted of statics, websites and a statement that addressed our issue.

In our description box on the Facebook page, we stated how our generation isn’t very politically active and how this problem needs to change. We also shared website links that we feel will encourage young adults to vote and showed them statics about the voting habits of our generation. We also stated how this page’s purpose is to get young adults informed about being more politically active and getting them to pledge to vote when they are of age.

Our second step was to make a video that consisted of recorded interviews of students from our school. The students ranged from ages 14-18 and had very different political views and backgrounds. They also had different levels of political efficacy. We asked them seven different questions that informed us of how politically aware they were, their views and their opinion on why young adults don’t vote. The seven questions were: who was the commander and chief of the army right now, who becomes the president if the president and the vice president are unable, who do they want to be the governor of Texas, what political party do their parents identify themselves with, what political party do they identify themselves with, why they don’t think young adults ages 18-24 don’t vote and will they vote when they are able.

Our final step regarding the Facebook page was to invite all of our Facebook friends to join. By inviting all of our Facebook friends we are spreading the word about how our generation needs to be more politically active and how we are encouraging them to pledge to vote. From there it was up to young adults to go onto the page, and their likes and video watches would show us how much of an impact we were able to make.

Impact Statement – Sarah A, Ani A, Caitlin H, and Allie A

In Impact on November 4, 2010 at 1:27 am

For the Political Action group project, Sarah A, Ani A, Allie A, and Caitlin H wanted to somehow get people in the high school of Parish Episcopal School involved and informed about the political process. They put their heads together and created a way to achieve their original goal of making an impact. The group’s political action project has been meaningful because they have created a cultural touchstone within the school and had a large turnout with the cultural touchstone.

The group decided to make a bracelet that they would hand out during lunch. But to get a bracelet they had to fill out a survey about voting. The questions included, “When you turn 18 will you register to vote and vote in the next election?” and “Who is one person running for governor in the upcoming election?” Once a participant fill out the survey with their prior knowledge on the election process, they receive a bracelet. In the first day of handing out the bracelets and doing the survey, the group handed out 206 bracelets. By the end of the project the group handed out 231 bracelets and had 231 surveys. Giving out all those bracelets in a fairly small high school created a cultural touchstone. Now when someone sees that white bracelet they can show how they have one as well and that they have visited the website and have gotten informed about the political process. Everyone who has a bracelet can talk about how they saw this really cool video about what a senator does and now they know what role a senator has to play in the political process. If someone doesn’t know about the bracelet and website, they can just ask someone with a bracelet and that person will tell them about how they should get informed about the political process by conveniently visiting the website. This then becomes a cycle of people wanting to know more about the bracelets and what they mean and then them visiting the website. The bracelet will become something really cool to wear because it means that you have been to the website and that you are becoming educated on the political process, which in turn creates a large turnout for the number of people who want to get informed and them making an impact by spreading the word about how to get involved and informed.

Caitlin’s, Allie’s, Analisa’s, and Sarah’s turnout for bracelets and surveys showed an impact on getting young people involved. For the first question of the survey, “When you turn 18 will you register to vote and vote in the upcoming election,” 201 people said yes, 14 said no, and 16 said maybe or they are unable to register. An overwhelming 87% of people want to register to vote. That shows they young people really do want to get involved in the political process. For the second question, “who is one person running for governor,” more people did not know someone running than people knowing someone running. This showed that people, at first, were not informed about the political process and the upcoming election, but the group encouraged people to visit their website and get informed and learn how to get involved. Many people visited the website and got informed. Out of the three videos posted on the website, there was a total of 62 views. That is a fair amount for such a small high school. For our survey, faculty and students could participate which was a total of 431 people. The group only had 300 bracelets, and out of those 300, 231 people participated in the survey. The sample size of the group’s calculations was 300 because there were only three hundred bracelets. Out of the sample size 71% of people participated in the survey. That is a very good turnout and if those 71% of people get informed, they can pass that information along and then many people will start getting involved. Overall, the group made an impact by created a cultural touchstone so the information about getting informed can keep spreading and they made an impact because 231 people filled out a survey and wanted to get involved and informed about the political process.