Burlingame seniors participate in monumental election


Tobias Matthews

Senior Dalton Boyse patiently waits to cast her ballot at Hillsborough City Hall.

Tobias Matthews, Staff Reporter

The recent elections had record participation and have captivated the attention of many Americans. While many students at Burlingame have been paying close attention to the results of these elections, few are old enough  to actively participate through voting because of their age. However, a select number of Burlingame seniors were able to vote in the recent elections, all of whom were first-time voters. This responsibility requires a degree of effort in learning about issues and the candidates on the ballot, and figuring out the ramifications of a vote isn’t always an easy task.

“It’s a mix of research and interaction with the people in my community,” senior Laine Schlezinger said.

Interactions with members of the general Burlingame community were crucial for many first time voters at Burlingame. Many seniors echoed the sentiment that hearing the opinions of others at Burlingame High School played an important role in how they went about voting.

“BHS has been an easy place for everyone to see different views and talk about them,” senior Caroline Schoustra said.

While some seniors found BHS was an easy place to hear the voices of others, others thought the political discourse could improve.

“I really don’t see politics as a discussion at BHS,” said Sclezinger.

Opinions of students clearly differed on the matter, and the lack of a response from after acts of intolerance such as the graffitiing during the 2019-2020 school year and the graffitiing of a Jewish student’s locker have received criticism. However, Burlingame teachers have had discussions with the intent to inform students regarding how their vote affects change within the classroom. Some seniors have learned about propositions at a statewide level through their classes at Burlingame.
“I’m in government, and my teacher went through some of the propositions with us, and that helped,” senior Hannah Broman said.

Interest in the political sphere has been especially prevalent this year, with over 80 Burlingame students volunteering at local polling stations during the election. A large portion of Burlingame students have also been politically active over social media recently. Resources, including the SMUHSD Awareness Instagram account, have created discussions about lasting change in both the local community and the broader nation. Following the George Floyd protests in the Summer of 2020 many students also participated in “Black Out Tuesday” and posted a variety of opinions about inequality within America.

“I’ve benefited from friends reposting resources about anti-racist material,” Schlezinger said.

The discussions about social issues at Burlingame are ongoing, and getting young people engaged is critical to creating lasting change. Young voters turnout at rates significantly lower than older voters, and the issues that are voted on will impact young voters for the longest, and the participation of young voters is often crucial in deciding the outcome of tightly contested elections.

“I think it’s a privilege to be able to vote, so I want to take advantage of that,” Broman said.