Archive for Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Independents garner votes among recent THS graduates

June 2, 2004

Political views among students in the Class of 2004 are seemingly well distributed between liberal and conservative.

Of those surveyed, 46 students said they considered themselves liberal (48.9 percent), while 41 were conservative (43.6 percent).

And when asked what party they considered themselves, 30 were Democrats (31.9 percent) and 24 were Republicans (25.5 percent). But in this class the Independents had it. A total of 38 students (40.4 percent) said they were independents.

Interestingly enough, those numbers offer more parity than last year's senior views.

About 47 percent, or 41 students, were Independents, while 29 were Republicans and 17 were Democrats in last year's senior class survey. That amounts to about 33 percent Republicans and just less than 20 percent Democrats.

This year, The Mirror again surveyed 94 members of the senior class on educational, social, political and other issues. The written surveys were completed anonymously and were voluntary.

Obviously this year's seniors can vote for the first time. Kelly Breuer, who already has registered to vote, said she was leaning toward incumbent George W. Bush.

"I just like to think that he's doing the best job possible," Breuer said. "I just don't see anything horribly wrong that he's doing."

During Bush's time in office, the country has gone through major changes, thanks in large part to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Students were asked whether they agreed with the statement: "I am more worried about the nation's economy than about the threat of terrorism."

Of students who answered the survey, 21 strongly agreed (22.3 percent), while 35 (37.2 percent) somewhat agreed. On the other end of the spectrum, 27 students somewhat disagreed (28.7 percent) and 10 strongly disagreed (10.6 percent).

"Terrorism is definitely something that's on my mind, but I think our generation has become callous about it," Breuer said. "We joke around about it, but no matter what when I go to a concert, I think man, this would be a good target.

"I think we're just used to it, so we don't think about it."

Last year, the Class of 2003 showed that 18 strongly agreed (19.15 percent), while 38 (40.43 percent) somewhat agreed. On the other end of the spectrum, just five students somewhat disagreed (5.26 percent) and 14 strongly disagreed (14.74 percent), so it appears more students who graduated in May are concerned about terrorism.

Alcohol

Alcohol abuse is a problem to some extent at Tonganoxie High School, according to this year's graduates.

About 13.8 percent, or 13 students, viewed it as a serious problem, while 42.6 percent, or 40 students, viewed it as somewhat of a problem. Still another 17 percent, (16 students) didn't view it as much of a problem at THS, while 25.6 percent (24 students) viewed alcohol abuse as "no problem" in the school.

"I don't really think it's a huge problem," said Kelly Breuer. "It happens, but it happens in every high school."

Breuer said alcohol abuse was more of a problem than other drug abuses, but 10 percent of students viewed it as a serious problem and another 59.6 percent said it was somewhat of a problem. That outweighs students who said it was not much of a problem (7.4 percent) and no problem at all (21.3 percent).

In another social issue, 44.7 percent of students who took the survey said they were sexually active, while 54.3 percent were not. As for smoking, 63.8 percent never have smoked cigarettes and 71.3 percent of graduates have never smoked marijuana.

Religion

Religion plays some level of importance for most of this year's graduating class.

About 19 percent view it as very important and another 52 percent say it's fairly important. The percentage for those who think it's not very important is nearly 28 percent.

According to Kelly Breuer, who said religion was very important to her, there are opportunities for youth to get involved with religion -- even at the school.

Club 121, a Christian youth group, is not sponsored by the school, but the club usually meets before school.

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