Local Student Civics: Being an Informed and Involved Young Citizen

Hunaina Hirji and YLHS DreamCatchers spend time making blankets with residents at Serento Rosa Senior Living.

YLHS DreamCatchers Instagram

Hunaina Hirji and YLHS DreamCatchers spend time making blankets with residents at Serento Rosa Senior Living.

Anjeli Webb, Editor

It is more important than ever for young students to become well-versed in current events and engaged in society. Every election year, greater numbers of younger politicians are taking office. However, getting ready to vote or run for office is just the beginning.

Civics classes that educate students on the importance of good citizenship (ie: contributing to the productiveness of society) are almost extinct in high schools around the country. Nowadays students can expect to see them offered as elective classes in some places of higher education. According to Harvard College Program of General Education, “Ethics and Civics courses examine the dilemmas that individuals, communities, and societies face as they explore questions of virtue, justice, equity, inclusion, and the greater good.” In modern society, there has been an undeniable push for “DEI” policies—that is implementation of programs that stress the importance of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (washingtonexaminer.com). That social trend has not been excluded from public and private colleges and universities such as California State University, Fullerton, and Harvard University, unlike traditional classes teaching ethical and moral decision making (fullerton.edu & harvard.edu).

Where there is a lack of citizenship classes in high school for whatever reason, students have risen to the task of setting examples for their fellow learners. Some YLHS Students habitually go above and beyond to serve their school community, taking part in co-curriculars like Associated Student Body (ASB), and Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), and participating in district councils like Superintendent’s High School Advisory Committee (SHAC).

One such student leader is Hunaina Hirji (11), who is currently in Golf, Basketball, Science Olympiad, Link Crew, Mustang Business Academy, and Video Productions, and is an officer of Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society, California Scholarship Federation, and DreamCatchers. She also serves on the PYLUSD Empowered Committee, Student Advisory Board, and SHAC. Her tenacity and diligence while also keeping a positive attitude is remarkable and inspiring.

This year, I’ve chosen to be a part of more activities and participate in community service because they teach me something every day.

— Hunaina Hirji (11)

To properly handle the responsibilities that come with having so much on her plate, Hirji states that “it is important to delegate tasks priority-wise.” She has a planner where she “writes down exactly what [she] wants to get done that day, what [she] needs to do when [she] gets home” which helps her with structure. To stay on track health-wise, she sets a limit for her work: 11pm. Once it’s time for her to sleep, she makes it a point to wake up early and get it done. She says that “it is important to me to have a routine, that way I’m also prioritizing my health.”

When asked what motivates her to be involved in so many activities, Hirji simply states “it’s the communities where I can forge friendships and fulfill my love of learning.” 

Others choose to give back to their community outside of school, donating time and energy to city services such as the Yorba Linda Public Library, Yorba Linda Parks and Recreation Department, Yorba Linda Chamber of Commerce, Yorba Linda Police Services, and more. Other organizations that students regularly contribute to are senior homes like Serento Rosa and Sunrise Senior Living, and Meals on Wheels

Our community is a great place to learn public service and the tenets of citizenship, but it is only made possible through the determination and excellence of YLHS Mustangs.