By Emily Wilkinson, SFLA West Coast Regional Coordinator
When Madera South senior Jorge Mendoza attended the Walk for Life in San Francisco last January, he discovered Students for Life of America through a piece of literature there. Although he had considered the idea of starting a pro-life club in the past, he now realized that he’d finally discovered the resources and support he needed to make it happen.
Jorge quickly read how to start a club on the SFLA high school website, watched instructional videos on our YouTube channel, wrote a club constitution using the sample one from SFLA, and gathered executive board members within a few days.
Now the students at both Madera South High School and Madera High School in Madera, California, have taken their schools by storm with two brand-new pro-life clubs, working together under the umbrella name of Madera Students for Life.
Both groups have been met with incredible enthusiasm. When Jorge and his friends initially had to gather signatures at each school for the registration paperwork, it turned into a competition and they gathered 137 signatures at Madera and 200 signatures at Madera South – far exceeding the 30 signatures required to start a club.
Each school held a kick-off meeting to welcome new students, and at Madera South, the larger high school, 135 students filled the school gym for the meeting! A representative from a local Pregnancy Resource Center spoke to the students about the services they offer for pregnant women, and the club distributed baby bottles to be filled with spare change as a fundraiser for the organization.
Despite the overwhelming popularity of the clubs, Madera Students for Life faced resistance from the administration for being “controversial” and “political,” and the club’s approval was stalled for a long time at the district level. Students for Life of America and Thomas More Society worked with Jorge during the whole process. TMS sent a letter to school officials to inform them that their concerns were not legally acceptable grounds for denying the Students for Life clubs, and that the students have a right to proclaim their pro-life message at their schools under both the First Amendment and federal law. After weeks of anticipation, the students at Madera South are celebrating a victory after finally getting approval from the administration, and they have been told that Madera’s club will be approved shortly.
“We’re so excited for the opportunity to educate our peers on the amazing gift of life at all stages,” says Jorge. “The students’ positive response to the pro-life message has been overwhelming, and now that our Students for Life clubs have been approved, we look forward to continuing to spread this message of truth and hope, as well as offering support to our classmates who might face crisis pregnancies.”
Madera Students for Life provides a shining example of persistence in the face of a hostile administration, and the level of involvement they have seen at such an early stage is truly inspiring. We look forward to watching the great things they will accomplish in coming years!
Congratulations to both Madera South High School and Madera High School in Madera, California for getting the SFLA May Group of the Month!