On the eve of the presidential election, with so much debate and rhetoric in the air, as an assignment seniors in Elaine Cawley Weintraub’s global history class at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School were asked to reflect on their values, aspirations, dreams and fears for the future — and that of their country. What follows are edited excerpts of their writings, submitted to the Gazette.


I don’t really know what to expect from the future, whether it be great things for everyone, like more, better-paying jobs for working class people, cures for major diseases, solving world hunger, access to fresh, drinkable water for those who don’t have it. Or terrifying things, like more war, disease, drought, storms, or worst of all, full-blown nuclear war. I hope that in the near future I can play college baseball, get an education in biology and help to bring an end to deforestation, poaching, extinction of species caused by humans, and try to make the world a better place. I hope that one day I’ll be able to say that I did everything I could to make this planet better. We forget what a small amount of time we have, and spend too much time worrying about small, temporary, irrelevancies. When our lives end, we won’t remember when our phone was stolen or our credit card was declined. We will remember the experiences with the ones we love most.

— James Sashin

Elaine Weintraub, head of high school history department. — Jeanna Shepard


I hope that Hillary wins the election in 2016 and she eliminates tuition fees for families making less than $125,000 for in-state, public college students. I hope that comprehensive immigration is passed so that families can stay together. My family from Brazil could then come to the U.S. I plan to be a successful architect and provide for my parents who sacrificed so much for me and my brother. I want to give them the best vacation of their lives. I hope that climate change is no longer a problem. I hope to stay connected with my family and also travel.

— Jordan Da Silva Tate


My dream for the future is to live in a simpler and more peaceful place. I would also like to do what I love most. I aspire to cook for the rest of my life. I am passionate about cooking because food makes people happy; no matter who you are, there’s something you really like to eat and I want to make millions of people happy with the food that makes me happy. This election is scary, for my future, for other citizens and noncitizens and America as a whole. I think the biggest problem in the world is inequality for woman, for immigrants, between races — all types of inequalities.

— Patty Oliveira


Innovative societies are key to progress in our world: socially, economically, technologically and medically. We must not fear change. This is the kind of society I dream of living in. I think like an innovator, dreaming of ways to evolve the technologies around us. Improvements to human life around the world are possible, and I believe implementing innovative strategies is key to solving major issues such as war, poverty, income inequality, racism and terrorism.

— Daniel Gaines


I hope to get into college, and to do well academically, since that has always been a struggle, and still play hockey. The environment is the biggest issue our world is facing and I hope people open their eyes and realize that and make a change. I try not to think about the election, but fear the outcome.

— Jamilyn Joseph


My dreams for the future are for people to get along, war to be over, and all humans vegetarian. I want to personally live a more sustainable life, and teach others techniques to do the same. I aspire to help my community to make a difference: providing art for children and encouraging respect for the local environment. I feel very uncomfortable about how this election will affect our country for years. Both major candidates do not present much hope for change.

— Olivia Knight


I would tell the candidates not to run for president, and I fear what this country will be like whichever one wins. The biggest problem facing the country is gun violence. So many lives are lost due to it, many of them extremely young. Cops are shooting people and taking lives more than they have to. They are supposed to be protecting citizens.

— Jack Sayre


Jeanna Shepard

I’m going to school for nursing. I aspire to do international volunteer work after graduation, going to developing world countries helping those who need it most. This election is a he-said, she-said kind of political free-for-all, and it worries me. I want to thank Hillary for being the first woman to come this far. That’s important for the younger generation to see. I think the biggest problem facing our country is gun control. Ask the people who have lost loved ones because someone who shouldn’t have had a gun had one.

— Madison Csapo-Moreis


My dream is to be a doctor so I can help those in need and teach those who have the same dream. I became interested in being a doctor when I had back surgery, and would love to give back to my parents for all the things they’ve done for me. They changed my life and I want to change theirs. I would like to ask Donald Trump why he thinks it’s so important to build a wall between us and Mexico. Mexicans helped build America — and are still helping.

— Cesar Bueno


If I could, I would ask the candidates what makes them different from me, my mother, brother or grandfather? I would ask them not why their opponent is worse than them, but instead, how much love they have for the people of this nation and everyone else in the world. I would ask them if they are passionate about being a voice for the whole human race.

— Violet Kennedy


The average life span in the United States of America is 79 years. In comparison, the United States is 240 years old, so how can anyone make a significant difference in such a momentary lifetime? I would tell the presidential candidates to stop focusing on winning and start focusing on making a change on issues that apply to everyone, such as universal health care, immigration, gun control and fairness.

— Anna Keenan


As a student, I believe the future is very bleak. I hope to inspire and educate others as a teacher. I would like to help others in creating change. We are more concerned with wealth as a society while we are losing our individuality. I believe it is time for us to stop relying on political leaders who are telling us what we should believe and think — and instead take matters into our own hands and think for ourselves, whether we are liberals, Republicans or Democrats.

— Robson Borges


Jeanna Shepard

I plan to work toward becoming an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. I have wanted to join the military for as long as I can remember, and believe that this stems from my wanting to help people. Specifically, those in war-torn countries who may be defenseless. Politically, but also in life, I believe people need to stand up to bullies. Love and peace will always trump greed and hate. I am passionate about peace and diversity. I believe that all hate and bigotry comes from a lack of understanding. Even here on Martha’s Vineyard, there are people waving confederate flags and chanting anti-gay and anti-muslim rhetoric.

— Ethan Danielson


I plan to chase my dream of majoring in criminal justice and graduating from college with an internship at either the FBI or Homeland Security. I’m very passionate in making this wonderful country a safe place for my children and their children to grow up in. The first step is fixing social injustice: police brutality, unfair job wages and prejudice. This disastrous presidential race of 2016 is a big issue facing my generation. I can’t vote, but I still want to have some say in my future.

— Jack Garrett


I care about preserving our national forests, the extinction of wildlife, taking care of each other and our children. How you raise your children affects what kind of people they will be. If I had the chance to speak to one our future leaders, I would tell them that Americans are looking to them. Our prosperity as a nation is in their hands.

— Olivia Wolff


I am glad that I can’t vote because I don’t agree with either candidates.

— Tim Peters

I fear failing at what I want. Everyone should fear that.

— Justin Alexander

If I wanted to talk to Hillary Clinton, I would probably email her.

— Ben Nadelstein

When I am not working and making serious money, I plan to help the homeless and unhoused veterans.

— Shay Sullivan