Meeting in the Middle

Co-presidents discuss importance of Bipartisan Club

Lilly Altman, Circulation Manga

Q: How does Bipartisan support the Democratic side and allow you to express your views?
Emma [Ellis, senior]: At Bipartisan Club, we really try to emphasize hearing both sides of all issues and what we have in common with each other as opposed to our differences, but being the Democratic leader definitely gives me an opportunity to unite with my fellow liberals over causes we are passionate about.

Q: What made you become the leader of the Democratic side for Bipartisan club?
Emma: I’ve been a member of Bipartisan Club for a couple years, but I was actually friends with both the liberal and conservative leaders of the club from last year, Alex Massa and Ava Klink. Alex and I especially talked a lot about politics over the summer and he ended up passing the club off to me with the responsibility of finding a Republican co-president and I’m really grateful he did! The club has become really important to me and it’s something both myself and Aaron Pike, the other leader, have worked really hard on.

Q: What makes Bipartisan Club special and a safe environment for you and your fellow members?
Emma: Bipartisan Club is really special to me because everyone in the club is really kind to each other and respectful and very good at listening, which is something I think we are way better at than our own government. We always like to create a safe environment by reminding everyone to be respectful and listen carefully and try to get your point across as professionally as you can.

Q: What discussions or political debates do you have?
Emma: We’ve only had an introductory meeting so far [at time of publication], but at our next meeting we have big plans to debate the upcoming presidential candidates as well as key issues of both parties that are super controversial right now, and I’m really excited to see where the debate takes us and what everyone has to say.

Q: How much involvement and time does it take for you to be the leader of the Democratic side?
Emma: It’s a lot of work! Before each meeting, Aaron and I meet with Mr. Cummings and we kind of come up with a game plan for the next meeting and what issues we want to tackle. Then, Aaron and I will meet again before the actual club meeting and come up with an agenda and share any specific research on any topics we have. then of course there’s the actual meetings, which are so much fun! They usually are ninth period in Mr. Cummings room and we really enjoy getting to hear from all our club members!

Q: Who is your adviser of the club and how does their impact affect you and the rest of the members?
Emma: Mr. Cummings is the advisor for our club. I really can’t think of anyone more perfect for the position, and honestly since everyone loves him, I think him being the advisor is a really big draw for attendance! He’s super helpful and super knowledgeable about all things gov related and I’m really grateful he’s willing to spend the time outside of school to help us make it happen.

Q: How does Bipartisan Club support the Republican side and allow you to express your views?
Aaron [Pike, senior]: Bipartisan Club supports both Republican and Democratic viewpoints by allowing students to express their opinions and learn others’ opinions in a safe environment. We primarily voice our opinions through debates and discussions.

Q: What made you become the leader of the Republican side for the Bipartisan Club?
Aaron: I liked the ideas of bringing people from different ends of the political spectrum and learning to compromise. It allows us as people to focus on unity.

Q: What makes Bipartisan Club special and a safe environment for you and your fellow members?
Aaron: Bipartisan Club is a safe and special place because we want to hear everybody’s opinions and work together to understand the other side’s and different opinions that people have. The more different opinions we have, the better the discussion is. It’s incredibly unique to be a part of something where everyone has such different opinions, but yet can still get along in today’s society.

Q: What goes on in Bipartisan Club?
Aaron: We have various different debates regarding all kinds of different political issues. At our last meeting, we debated the two presidential candidates and discussed their policies regarding climate change, COVID response, and healthcare. With the always changing conditions of the school year we don’t know exactly what we’re gonna do the rest of the year, but we’d like to have a lot more debates and maybe a movie night.

Q: How much involvement and time does it take for you to be the leader of the Republican side?
Aaron: Emma and I both spend a couple hours a week or more preparing and getting ready for the next meeting. We like to be ready for anything that our fellow members want to throw at us or at their fellow peers.

Q: We asked your co-leader about your advisor. Describe the environment Mr. Cummings’ leadership brings to the club.
Aaron: Mr Cummings, he’s just himself honestly. You won’t find a nicer, more caring teacher in the school and his passion for government and politics makes you excited about government and politics. He encourages us to educate ourselves on our differences and be politically involved. He’s a tremendous help getting these meetings set up and encouraging people to come and see what’s going on at our meetings.