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Marquette Messenger

The news site of Marquette High School

Marquette Messenger

The news site of Marquette High School

Marquette Messenger

Katelyn Heitert, senior, and a group of friends honor Rhegan Sajben each February by fundraising for different animal shelters. Sajben often volunteered at animal shelters with her family and adopted her dog Billie from a shelter she volunteered at. (Media by Laura Heitert)
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Student audience members perform a short step routine. The routine was taught to them during the workshop. The participants engaged in a friendly competition against the Step team that was judged by the volume of the audience’s cheers.
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Students For Life Club Gains Admin Approval, Continues Search for Sponsor

Media by David Moss
Jimmy Gwinner, junior, and Nour Elbeshbeshy, senior, present the topic “abortion” for Politics Club’s meeting on Thursday, Dec. 14. Members from the Students For Life (SFL) Club, including Natalia Montilla, senior, attended the meeting with a pro-life perspective.

When Hanna Patterson, junior, first heard about the Students For Life (SFL) club in early December, her main thought was “Why?”

“I didn’t know why they would want to bring that issue to MHS,” Patterson said.

Aiden Strobel, junior, is a SFL Club founder. Strobel said the club plans to promote discussion and education about abortion during club meetings and organize fundraisers and donations to support women with infants.

He first discussed starting a SFL club with Jacob Barton, sophomore, and Natalia Montilla, senior, in October of 2023. Strobel said he believed many didn’t fully understand the abortion debate.

“I wanted to positively impact our community,” Strobel said. “We also wanted to do community service related to that.”

In November, Strobel and Barton contacted Activities Director Adam Starling to attempt to gain approval for their club. Starling and Principal Dr. Tracey Waeckerle initially denied the club due to concerns that MHS would be endorsing a political interest group.

Dr. Waeckerle said she and Starling didn’t have much information initially about the club’s intentions.

Mr. Starling and I called the students back in and asked them, ‘What were you hoping to do?’

— Dr. Tracey Waeckerle

“From first glance at the website, it looked like an activist group that was raising money for political change,” Dr. Waeckerle said. “As a public high school, we can’t fundraise to then contribute to political action committees.”

Following the rejection, Strobel and Barton contacted the SFL legal team on Monday, Oct. 23. SFL then sent Dr. Waeckerle and Starling a letter that provided additional information about the club, noting Eureka High School’s SFL club.

“Dr. Starling and I talked to the activities director and the principal [at Eureka]. They said it’s more of an educational group,” Dr. Waeckerle said. “That’s not really what I thought. Mr. Starling and I called the students back in and asked them, ‘What were you hoping to do?’”

The meeting with Strobel and Barton provided clarity, Starling said. Their vision for the club was to educate and do humanitarian work, including donation drives and supporting women’s shelters.

“Their club mission statement here is different from what that mission statement was online,” Starling said. “I think that’s why things have blown up, because of the lack of clarity.”

Starling said he currently does not have any concerns for the club.

“Regardless of which side of hot topics we’re on, everyone can still do good within their community if their heart’s coming from the right place,” Starling said.

Regardless of which side of hot topics we’re on, everyone can still do good within their community if their heart’s coming from the right place.

— Adam Starling

The Students For Life Club is currently looking for a teacher sponsor and plans to begin meeting as soon as a sponsor is found. They’ve contacted eight teachers, and all have declined, with them mostly citing a lack of time in their schedules.

Natalia Montilla, senior, is the social media manager of the SFL club, which currently has 19 potential members in communication through social media. She said many feel silenced in the abortion debate and it needs to be discussed.

Montilla said she respects those who are pro-choice, and she doesn’t want the club to exclude them.

“We want to see them in our meetings and learn,” Montilla said.

The national organization, Students For Life, will provide the club with speakers, Montilla said, and they want a speaker to come and “talk about the basics.”

“We are planning to do a pregnancy donation drive,” Montilla said. “People think that if you’re pro-life, you don’t care about the mother, but we do and try our best to help.”

A member of the politics club, Sohum Tokekar, junior, said there will likely be many who disagree with what SFL stands for, but students must accept as many differing views as possible.

“As politics club, we would be happy to have clubs like that here. It’s amazing to have so many people come and have so many different stances,” Tokekar said. “That’s what fuels debate and representation in this country.”

Tokekar said controversy is always subjective.

“If people have an opinion that they feel isn’t voiced enough, they have every right to voice that opinion,” Tokekar said.

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About the Contributor
David Moss, Co-News Editor
David Moss, junior, is one of the news editors for the Marquette Messenger. This is his first full year on staff. David participates in cross country and track in the fall and spring. He also plays piano at his church and in the JazzU program.

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