By Megan Murchie
For her Girl Scouts Gold Award project, Hopkinton’s Julianna Lucas sought to encourage her classmates to make their voices be heard.
Lucas produced an educational video titled “The Importance of Youth Voting,” which encourages participation and explains the process for registering and submitting a ballot.
The video, narrated by town clerk Connor Degan, starts with a powerful quote from Abraham Lincoln: “The ballot is stronger than the bullet.”
The video notes that in the last presidential election only 46 percent of Americans between the ages of 18-29 voted — compared to 70 percent of those 65 and older. It encourages young adults to change that trend, because, “Your vote does matter.”
The Gold Award, the Girl Scouts’ highest honor, is a minimum 80-hour project that drives lasting change in the community. For her project Lucas landed on this topic because she believes that the lack of young voter registration is a big problem in today’s society, and if education and resources are provided young voters will gain the confidence needed to vote and make their voices heard.
“Exercising your right to vote is the basis of our democracy, and registering to vote is the first step in enacting this right as a U.S. citizen,” she said.
Originally she had planned to focus solely on increasing the registration of young voters through registration drives and advertisements such as posters throughout the high school. However, as her project proceeded she found that education on the voting process was needed.
Lucas filled that need by making a video on how to vote and the importance of voting in elections. She received a video clip from Congressman Joe Kennedy explaining the impact of the youth vote. Lucas said she was “very thankful for his response and it turned out perfectly.”
“I hope that the video inspires high schoolers to actually vote and not take the ability to vote for granted,” she added.
The video is posted on the Hopkinton High School website under the Students & Family tab along with a link to register to vote. It also can be found at the HCAM website. There was some talk of it being implemented into the government classes at the high school, depending on the curriculum and nature of the class for this school year.
The pandemic hit right in the middle of Lucas’ project.
“In a way it was nice because it gave me more time to work on it,” she said.
However, it proved to become a challenge when it came time to edit her video.
“Staying socially distant while editing the video with HCAM was a pretty big obstacle,” she noted, although, “Using new resources like Zoom made it easier.”
After the start of her project, Lucas reported an increase of voter registration, according to statistics from the town clerk’s office. A part of this increase comes directly from the success of her registration drives, where students registered on-site. This is especially important given the upcoming presidential election, making it critical that all eligible U.S. citizens participate in the electoral process.
Lucas also credited Degan, her content advisor, for helping educate her on the voting process and fact-checking the information she was putting out.
The project will have successfully completed the requirements of the Gold Award by creating a long-lasting impact on the youth of Hopkinton. The biggest thing Lucas wants students to take out of her project is the importance in the voting process and how impactful their vote can be.