Humans of Metea: MV Citizens Co-Founders Ijeoma Ogbonna and Shriman Gupta


Mishal Nizar

MV Citizens was created to give civic opportunites to the students of Metea.

Metea Valley Citizens is a new club created to spread political information and give access to civic opportunities to those who do not have this privilege. Senior Ijeoma Ogbonna is the co-founder of Metea Valley Citizens, along with senior Shriman Gupta. They are both heavily involved in multiple social studies clubs such as Rho Kappa and Youth and Government. 


How did you come about creating MV citizens?

Recently, I, Ijeoma, have been very politically and civically involved. I have the privilege of being a part of the club Youth and Government. I have connections with many history teachers who are very civically involved. Shriman and I realized that these resources and these opportunities are not spread throughout most of the Metea community. It is very reserved for students who are in AP/honors classes or those who have time for these activities. Our first idea was to do an Illinois High School Democrats of America chapter, but the whole point of our club is to make it accessible to everybody, so we reoriented ourselves as Citizens of Metea so it could be open to all Metea Students, no matter what affiliation they are. 


Was this an idea that you had before or during quarantine?

We actually wanted to start our Illinois High School Democrats chapter a little before quarantine, but we were not sure how to go about it, so we began to talk about creating a club exclusively for Metea students. Once quarantine started, we had a lot of time to really plan everything out and come up with MV Citizens. 


Who is your sponsor for the club this year?

Our sponsor is Mrs. Fuhrer. She is a social studies teacher, and she is the advisor for Youth and Government. 


How did you go about starting a new club with the new coronavirus guidelines?

It was a very niche situation. We really had to establish ourselves digitally which was hard, but also easier in some ways. The first thing we actually did was secure our sponsor because we know how uncertain the world was and still is at the time. Afterward, we drafted plans and we shared a PowerPoint presentation with the administration about what this club is going to do. We had a calendar and events all planned out before meeting with them. We also made sure to foresee a future of remote learning, so we touched heavy base on that as well. That process took the majority of the summer to get through, and we were finally given the green light two weeks before school started. 


What are some things that the club has accomplished so far?

We have held a total of three discussions with the high tensions and relevance of the Black Lives Matter movement. We’ve done a lot of discussions relating to social justice and issues in the United States. We had a lot of insightful discussions with people throughout Metea, even District 204, we had a few Waubonsie and Neuqua students come to our discussion. We have also had a fair amount of significant figures come to our discussions such as the chair of the Illinois High School Democrats. We only have so much more to come. 


Have you been able to pull in a lot of people who have multiple political views?

In the beginning, since we started off as a high school democrats club, it was mainly all democrats. A student actually prompted the change. He reached out to us saying he did not feel welcome in many clubs because he is more conservative. We do have a democratic majority just because that’s where we started and that’s our base. but we are seeing more students who are moderate and conservative who are getting more interested in this club, and by all means, if you, if anybody who is reading this feels like they are one of those students, we definitely want you to come because this is the club for everybody. 


What are some of your goals for the future of this club?

Before the year is over, we really want to make sure that students know about this club. Especially with the lack of civic engagement in person for seniors this year. This club could be an opportunity for that. Our long term goal is that we want this to be an enriching experience for political and civic engagement and activism within the Metea community. We want to start the necessary conversations that aren’t happening too much because there is an ominous aura around political talk. We want to make it more accessible and much easier to talk about, especially amongst the younger generation, because we are the future of this country so is our responsibility to be civically engaged. 


How can somebody get involved in MV citizens?

Students can get involved now. We suggest that because we are rolling out our leadership applications very soon. But also, they can get involved throughout the entire year. If you want to be a staple member just fill out an interest form, and we can add you to the Remind class. We know that online is going to be the main form of communication since we don’t have the privilege of being in person.