I’m sitting outside of the CCHS cafeteria with junior Grant Golin, beginning to ask about his current involvement in politics. He interrupts me– a new email has landed in his inbox. It’s the quote for the cost of the Town Hall For Our Lives, which he’s been planning for the past few weeks. His eyes widen and he excitedly babbles to his peers about the magnitude of the event. After a few moments, he turns back to me and warns that he might have to make a phone call.
The interview resumes.
As one listens to Golin talk about the groundbreaking work he plans to do through political rallies and legislation, it’s easy to forget that he’s not some hotshot politician. At least, not yet.
While most students at CCHS know him as the Student Government Association (SGA) secretary or as a classmate that loves participating in discussions, Golin is creating a storm outside of school. And he’s doing it alongside elected representatives and the leaders of the March For Our Lives (MFOL).
“We are so proud of Grant and support him in everything he does,” Golin’s mother Shaynee Golin said.
After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in February 2018, many politicians began to recognize the importance of listening to student voices. As student advocates like Emma Gonzalez and Cameron Kasky made headlines, it became apparent that teenagers had something to contribute to the conversations about their own lives and safety. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the representative for Florida’s 23rd congressional district, reached out to high schools in Broward County to create a student round table for gun violence prevention. After Principal Doll was informed of the opportunity, she spoke to Golin about it.
“[Wasserman Schultz] and I have grown very close with one another,” Golin said. “I support the causes that she stands for. She supports gun violence prevention which of course is most pertinent this year.”
Now, Golin has been on the student round table for almost nine months and he has become one of the senior volunteers for Wasserman Schultz’s campaign. In the early weeks of October, Golin spent several hours each day planning the Town Hall For Our Lives in Boca Raton, which aimed to promote the message of MFOL ahead of the midterm elections. The event included the discussion of school safety and security, gun reform, mental health, mass shootings and the importance of voting on November 6.
“The town hall meeting was absolutely amazing,” Golin said. “Having Senator Chris Murphy, Congressman Ted Deutch, the Mayor of Parkland and so many others there was truly meaningful to discuss what’s next in the fight to end gun violence. Organizing this over the last several months and being on the panel for the town hall along with my colleagues from the March For Our Lives and peers from Stoneman Douglas was extraordinary and I’m proud that it all played out so well.”
Golin’s maternal grandfather, who served in the Air Force during World War II, loved politics and showed Golin the importance of serving one’s country.
But even after the excitement of the town hall and the midterm elections, the student round table isn’t taking a break. Soon, members will begin drafting their own bills on gun violence prevention. With the help of Wasserman Schultz, as well as her congressional and legislative staff, the students hope to eventually have one of the bills introduced in the House of Representatives.
When Golin speaks about the social and legislative change that he sees on the horizon, his eyes light up. It’s difficult to imagine that there was a time when his heart wasn’t set on politics. But it wasn’t until the ripe age of 11 that Golin considered pursuing a path to Washington, D.C. And it wasn’t a headline or current event that piqued his interest. It was a TV show. On the air from 1999 to 2006, “The West Wing” is considered to be one of the greatest shows of all time. But for Golin, watching “The West Wing” wasn’t just a way to kill time or boredom. It changed the way he viewed the world.
“[‘The West Wing’] inspired a sense of political ambition and public service in me,” Golin said.
But aside from Martin Sheen and Allison Janney, others have inspired Golin to have a positive influence on the nation. Golin’s maternal grandfather, who served in the Air Force during World War II, loved politics and showed Golin the importance of serving one’s country. Golin plans to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, but by serving America in a different way.
After graduating from CCHS in 2020, Golin hopes to attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and major in political science, while also interning for Wasserman Schultz. Then, he hopes to move back to South Florida and eventually run for Congress. While some high schoolers may be hesitant to dream big, Golin’s not shy about sharing his ambitious goals with his friends.
“Grant has been fascinated with politics and has wanted to get into public service since I’ve known him,” Golin’s friend Simone Goldberg said. “He has always said his ultimate goal is to end up in Congress and then the White House. Over the last few months, Grant has been working with amazing people who can help him reach his goals. He puts 110 percent effort into all he does and I have no doubt in my mind that will carry him where he wants to go.”
“The work he does with March For Our Lives and Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz is truly remarkable.”
When the shooting at MSD occurred 30 minutes away from our own campus, the entire CCHS student body felt the waves of fear, hurt and confusion that followed the tragedy. For Golin, it hit a bit closer to home. His mother’s friend was a teacher at MSD, and she lost a few students that day. After hearing about the tragedy and watching the news coverage nonstop, Golin felt shocked that such a thing could happen in this country. But rather than focus on the pain, Golin became inspired by the resilience of the Parkland community and their fight to make the nation safer.
“I became extremely passionate about gun violence prevention right after the shooting [at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School],” Golin said. “I just connected with the kids. I connected with the cause. It’s something that just drew me in and something that really inspired me.”
Now, Golin is one of the many teenagers across the nation continuing to fight for that cause. Even as he dedicates countless hours to MFOL, the student round table and Wasserman Schultz’s campaign, his parents encourage Golin’s political action and involvement.
“We are so proud of Grant and support him in everything he does,” Golin’s mother Shaynee Golin said. “The work he does with March For Our Lives and Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz is truly remarkable.”
The political climate in the U.S. is divided, and it’s unclear as to how the next few decades in America will play out. But even as news headlines and election results brew uncertainty, there’s one thing that Cowboys can be sure of.
Our remaining years at Cooper City High certainly won’t be the last time we hear Golin’s name.
Photo curtesy of Grant Golin Twitter