Foundation in Focus: Lecture series gave students 'valuable experience' with Axelrod, Christie

Max Little
Guest columnist

The New Albany Community Foundation is holding its eighth season of the New Albany Lecture Series – an array of programs featuring prominent leaders in such fields as politics, global affairs and education.

On Jan. 27, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and political adviser and CNN correspondent David Axelrod engaged in a presentation for the New Albany Center for Civil Discourse and Debate, a subset of the lecture series.

Max Little

I had the privilege of introducing both guests, and being directly involved emphasized for me the importance of these programs.

The leaders shared stories from their political experiences, as well as their takes on what they hope to see for the country in the future from a policy standpoint.

They also answered student-posed questions, providing their stance on some current political hot-button topics, such as the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

But the theme of the day was the need for more civil, centralized discourse. Without it, little political and social progress can be made.

Our guests said that both sides have disagreements, but that does not warrant putting each other down.

As a new voter, I found these comments to be particularly poignant. My first voting experience in a general election made clear how polarized our political spectrum is. It was refreshing to see Axelrod and Christie not only share that sentiment, but also provide solutions to foster bipartisan civil progress.

I found this event extremely insightful from the perspective of a student and citizen. I was able to gain a better understanding of our government’s operations and to become more informed on current political issues the country faces.

Every student in New Albany High School had the opportunity to attend the debate virtually. The community foundation also extended the invitation to students from 18 Ohio school districts, allowing more than 2,000 students to participate.

Christie and Axelrod engaged in discussion for close to an hour. It is rare to have the opportunity to interact directly with current political figures, so having the chance to ask them questions was a valuable experience.

The New Albany Lecture Series is offered due to the generosity of dozens of community sponsors who support the New Albany Community Foundation. We are fortunate to have accessible events like this available to not only New Albany residents, but also to all of central Ohio.

Max Little is a senior at New Albany High School and president of the school's National Honor Society chapter. He plans to study finance at Ohio State University this fall.