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Promoting voter registration at Washington

By Mark Ramos

Northeast Times

Rich in diversity, George Washington High School is filled with students who come from far and wide. The school offers several sports and clubs for students to get involved with as well.

The school’s latest club, the social justice club, aims to help promote that diversity and to bring light to many of the social justice issues society faces. The first order of business, however, is tackling the upcoming election. The students have been attempting to register as many of their fellow students as they can to vote. They’ve worked relentlessly doing whatever they can to express the importance of the election with a slideshow presentation on the candidates for those students old enough to register and attend the presentation during third period this past week. If one signed up, you’d receive a warm, soft pretzel from the Philly Pretzel Factory for the effort and let’s face it, who doesn’t love the Philly Pretzel Factory?

This is the kind of club senior Alana Cyril had been thinking of creating for a while now.

“I was thinking about starting this club over the summer,” the 17-year-old said. “It had a lot to do with the gun violence going on in the world. I thought it was time for us to make a change, especially with the diversity in our school.”

With the idea in mind, Cyril reached out to a teacher she had last year in Ms. Gianna Lozzi, as she thought Ms. Lozzi was just as passionate about solving problems and promoting awareness on social issues as she is. Cyril also enlisted friend Musli Ma and just like that, the students had their very own club.

“Many of us in the social club are the most involved students in the school,” Musli Ma said. “We just like school. Alana and I wanted to stand up for ourselves and focus on topics that are important to us.”

Musli Ma, 17, is a native of Uzbekistan and comes from a family of educators. Her mother, aunts, uncles, father and grandfather all have backgrounds in education so her involvement in school and everything it has to offer doesn’t come as a surprise, but many of her group mates share that same passion.

Many of the members of the social justice club are members of the National Honor Society and debate club as well and their goal essentially remains the same: to help and inform their fellow students. During their seventh periods, they even help tutor many of the school’s students, and for those who struggle with English as a second language, they speak to them in their native language.

“We created this big group to help students be themselves,” club member Diyora Rakhimove said. “Being comfortable with their religion, sexuality, their gender, it’s just to help people. This group isn’t meant to just be a benefit to us; it’s meant to be a benefit for everyone around us, too.”

A competitive swimmer and track and field athlete with a passion for dancing and knitting, the 16-year-old Rakhimove came to George Washington High School four weeks ago and immediately immersed herself in the school’s environment. She’s thankful for the group and everyone in it.

“When I joined this club, Alana and Musli and everyone was so just amazing and nice, they are just really good people,” Rakhimove said. “School is technically like our second home, and we spend hours here, so they made me feel as if this was a second home.”

The election will take place on Nov. 8. ••

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