EHS conservative students come together as the EHS Young Americans Foundation

After a year of controversy, politics at EHS remain relevant for conservative students

Mihika Sathe, staff writer

In past years, the Young Conservatives Club (YCC) was a club for students that leaned conservative on the political spectrum to be civically engaged and take part in political discussions. This year, the YCC is no longer around, and in its place is the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). While the YAF does lean conservative like the YCC, the structure and the organization of the club is much different than the structure and organization of the YCC last year. “The difference between the YCC and the YAF is that the YAF is founded by Young America’s Foundation based out of DC,” senior co-president Lizzie Ebner said.

Because the YAF is founded by Young America’s Foundation, the structure of the club is very different compared to other clubs at the high school. “[The] YAF is associated with a national organization of clubs for politically minded students at both the high school and college level, so some of that structure is coming from that association,” advisor Steven Cullison said. Young America’s Foundation is a youth organization based out of Washington DC with the main goal of advancing the conservative movement. On the website, Young America’s Foundation describes itself as “providing a visible presence for the conservative movement… [and] providing students with the tools and resources to advance conservatism at high school and college campuses.” The EHS YAF is a chapter of this foundation, meaning it receives resources to advocate for conservatism and has a lot more organization and planning than the YCC did last year. “We have an advisor in DC who sends us lesson plans and projects we need to do,” Ebner said.

The name change from the YCC to the YAF was prompted by the fact that the club wanted to be more inclusive to all students of the high school. “We want everyone to feel welcome and able to come, that’s why we took the word conservative out of it. Yes, we are a more conservative group, but we want to make a voice respectfully without having that word that I think people are afraid of,” Ebner said.

Unlike the YCC, the YAF is a club where there are regular meetings and opportunities for students to be involved in projects and events. “The YAF is focusing on projects that people benefit from aside from just having a GroupMe,” Ebner said. One of the most notable projects the YAF has completed this year was their participation in the 9/11: Never Forget Project. On Sep. 11, 2018, the YAF placed 2,977 flags on the grounds of Edina High School in order to honor each of the lives lost on 9/11. This project was organized by Young America’s Foundation, and Edina High School was one of hundreds of schools participating in the project. The flags and event were all set up by the students in the club. “I made myself available if they needed help, but they didn’t… [the tribute] was very student driven, they were very on top of it,” Cullison said.

In addition to participating in projects, the YAF also invites guest speakers to discuss conservatism at their meetings. For example, on Tuesday, Oct. 9, Kalley Erickson, a senior at the University of Minnesota and the chair of the MN College Republicans, spoke to the YAF about how being involved in politics has impacted her life.

The YAF meets every Tuesday after school from 3:30 to 4:30, and everyone, regardless of political ideology, is welcome to their meetings.