The lives of students at LaPorte High School are often interesting and full of fascinating, thought-provoking stories beyond school. LPHS junior Leo Cavinder has led an intriguing life. In addition to his academic achievements, Cavinder has also achieved many successes outside of school, including having an active voice in politics.
Cavinder first became involved in politics when he realized the role that they play in the education and school system. He was aware of his position as a student and knew that his voice matters in important conversations. He wanted to have civil discussions about his beliefs.
“When I realized how politicized the K-12 education system is becoming, and as someone who has loved the educational environment and the impacts it can have on students, I knew I had to speak up and share my opinions from the view of a student. I believe a student’s perspective is crucial and can play a critical role in reforming education for the best,” Cavinder said.
Earlier this year, Cavinder was interviewed by The Washington Post, where they asked him his views on violence in the classroom from a student’s perspective. He initially reached out to a reporter from the publication in hopes of sharing his perspective on school violence. The reporter asked if he would be willing to give a quote, which he agreed to and led to him being featured in an article on the subject of guns in schools, which allowed him to voice his concerns on a large platform.
“The bigger the news publications, the more people will see and read the article. The process of being interviewed was similar to what I have been through before, just different in the essence of the number of people across the country and world that would read the article,” Cavinder said.
Cavinder hopes to see many changes being made in the LaPorte community. He is hopeful that people will be able to read between the lines concerning misinformation that is often spread around LaPorte and social media and determine what is true or not.
“I believe we have seen a lot more misinformation in the community and schools on what we read on social media without checking to see if it is really true. It is a critical real-world skill to determine what is false and what is true information,” Cavinder said.
Outside of school, Cavinder has served as a State Page to the Indiana General Assembly during the springs of 2017 and 2018. He also advocated and led a group of community members dedicated to student safety during the summer and fall of 2021. He cites one of his greatest role models as Jennifer McCormick, the former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, who has been another outspoken activist on various educational issues.
At a young age, Cavinder found himself developing a love for education and the school environment. He believes in the impact that schools can have on not just students but the whole community. He also wants to stress the importance of education and the hard work that teachers put into their jobs.
“I fell in love with education from a young age. I realized I wanted to pursue education because of its great impact and importance, not just for the students themselves, but for the community as a whole. I feel that teachers play a pivotal role in students’ lives, and we need to work to ensure that teachers feel appreciated, valued, and respected. I want to make sure that we do not discredit education or undermine it. Schools are a sacred institution and we must not lose faith in them,” Cavinder said.
After high school, Cavinder plans on continuing his passion for education and learning by entering the professional education field in some way.
Cavinder truly exemplifies the spirit of a Slicer: hard-working, dedicated, and not afraid to take a stand.