Cypress Lakes students strive to make a difference by encouraging people to vote

CYPRESS, Texas (KTRK) -- When the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida took place in 2018, a group of students at Cypress Lakes High School decided it was time to come together and make a difference.

The event resulted in the formation of Lakes4Lives. The group's president Kathleen Hoang describes it as a "civic-engagement activism club."

"We cover about every issue," said Hoang.

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The group's first order of business was participating in the Houston March For Our Lives rally in 2018 where they had more participants than any other school in the area.

From there, the group has participated in everything from feeding the homeless to cleaning Olivewood Cemetery, an African-American cemetery near the Heights.

Their main issue for the upcoming school year is voting and voter registration.

"We realize how imperative it is to vote this November," said Lakes4Lives vice president Jocelyn Gonzalez.

The group, which is non-partisan, said working with students has been difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they're doing their best to get students involved in the voting process.

That includes taking part in district-wide events, block walking, and hosting registration drives.

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These events will be virtual, though some will take place in-person when circumstances are safe.

"We are pushing our members to join workshops that involve voter registration," said Gonzalez. "We just want to get everyone educated."

The work of Lakes4Lives also involves spreading the message of voter registration beyond the school.

"We know minority students, and minority families in general, are inclined not to vote because they don't feel that their voices matter," said Hoang. "But, as we all know, their voices do matter."

It's a big job, but Lakes4Lives believes the group is up to the task.

"We're really excited," said Gonzalez. "This election is one of the most important."

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