NOMINATED FOR BEST NEW GROUP: Marquette Students for Life 

Paige Farquhar - 22 May 2024

As the 2023-2024 academic year ends, Students for Life of America (SFLA) will be awarding groups with Best New Group, Best High School Group, Best College Group, and Best Standing With You Group distinctions – and you get to help us choose which groups deserve these awards. Marquette Students for Life at Marquette High School in Chesterfield, Missouri, is nominated for Best New Group of the Year. Learn more about this group below and decide whether they’ll receive your vote:  

Marquette Students for Life (MSFL) has been fighting for their First Amendment rights since November 2023. When Aiden Strobel and Jacob Barton approached their school’s activities office, they were initially denied the right to form an SFLA group because the administration did not believe Marquette would be a good place for such a group.

However, instead of giving up like many high school students would, Strobel and Barton reached out to SFLA’s legal team. SFLA’s lawyers drafted and sent a demand letter to Marquette High School, stating that denying an SFLA club violated Strobel and Barton’s First Amendment rights. In addition, Marquette Students for Life published an article on SFLA’s website detailing everything they had gone through.

READ: Did Someone Forget the First Amendment? Public High School Denies SFLA Group Because It Didn’t “Feel Right”

This article resulted in intense backlash and bullying from their peers. Still, MSFL kept fighting until the school cleared Strobel, Barton, and their new officer, Natalia Montilla, to start their group.  
Because of the extreme backlash and bullying, Marquette Students for Life had trouble finding a teacher sponsor. Despite 20 students supporting MSFL’s mission and signing up to join the group, about 15 teachers declined to sponsor them, many out of fear. However, Strobel, Barton, and Montilla kept pushing until they finally found a teacher who agreed to sponsor their group. 

Due to the roadblocks above, Marquette Students for Life could not host their first official meeting until March 2024. However, their accomplishments for the pro-life cause in so little time are impressive. They kicked off their activism by attending a door-knocking trip for The Campaign for Abortion Free Cities, where they were able to reach 473 homes and give resources to a pregnant mother. They also attended a virtual high school workshop to improve their leadership skills. One of MSFL’s most impactful events was making the two-hour drive to Jefferson City, Missouri, to lobby at Missouri Pro-Life Lobby Day, where they talked to senators and representatives to encourage them to keep Missouri pro-life.   

Even when their school was on spring break, MSFL partnered with a nearby college group to participate in National Pro-Life Chalk Day outside of Walgreens to protest their announcement that they would begin distributing chemical abortion pills. In addition, they worked with a neighboring high school to host a viewing of the movie “Unplanned.” Despite the protesters, MSFL also attended St. Louis’ pro-life march, the March on the Arch. Finally, Marquette Students for Life plans on ending the year with training from their regional coordinator.  
Marquette Students for Life looks forward to the 2024-25 school year. They plan to train new leaders in the pro-life movement and increase their involvement with Students for Life Action (SFLAction) in preparation for the 2024 elections. 

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