Gov. Jack Markell believes it's important for the youth of Delaware to be involved with their communities. That was the message when Markell hosted a conference call Jan. 6 at Dover High School where he talked about engaging high school students in civic service and volunteerism.
Markell sat down with eight Dover High students while journalism students from other Delaware schools were on the phone. He scheduled the call due to an article he read in "The Atlantic."
Gov. Markell quoted "The Atlantic" because it talked about how unhappy today's generation [high school students today] is with politics. Markell said high school students feel the people in government aren't responsive to the interests of the general public.
"Like it or not the decisions that are made in Dover or in DC do have an impact on you," Markell said. "People in your generation can make a difference."
Markell said he and wife fully believe if it hadn't been for 20 and 18 year olds voting in the 2008 election, he wouldn't have been elected governor.
Topics discussed between Gov. Markell and students included school safety, college applications and scholarships, S.T.E.M. programs, how students can volunteer in the community, and how students can tackle unemployment rates by staying in school. At one point, Gov. Markell said Delaware spending on education is among the highest in the nation, but student performance is only ranked middle in the nation.
Gov. Markell said he finds inspiration from political leaders such as Gandi and Martin Luther King Jr. When asked about non-violent protest, Markell suggested students read King's "Letter From the Birmingham Jail." Markell also expressed that John Mayer's "Waiting for the World to Change" is not about how people should wait for things to get better, but that students should do their part to make the world change.
Other points of interest that were discussed during the call were about volunteerism, civic service, and helping out in general. Markell responded to these topics by saying that volunteerism is important for Delaware's society and quality of Delaware's workforce because volunteering develops a strong job culture and contributes to job growth.
"Whether it is someone helping a senior citizen, whether it is someone tutoring a young child and helping them learn how to read, whether it's someone painting a boys and girls club, or somebody taking care of pets at a kennel. There are so many needs in society and we have such a wonderful group of citizens who recognize these things and who want to help," Markell said. "No matter what your interests are, you will be able to find something."