Official Student Media of Valencia College

Valencia Voice

Official Student Media of Valencia College

Valencia Voice

Official Student Media of Valencia College

Valencia Voice

Presidents’ Day 2024: A Collegiate Perspective on Legacy, Civic Engagement, and Leadership

“1 George Washington” by US Department of State is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

Presidents’ Day was established to celebrate George Washington’s birthday, February 22, and the legacies and accomplishments of present and past presidents. Its immense historical significance is tied to many political landmarks, yet it is not as prominent among younger generations. Students at Valencia College were asked about their knowledge of past legacies, current Presidents, and the electoral process.

Presidents’ Day was officially passed into law in 1879. It is currently celebrated on the third Monday in February thanks to the 1968 Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This act was responsible for moving federal holidays to Mondays and organizing the American calendar.

This year, this federal holiday is officially celebrated on February 19. It reiterates the legacies of important historical figures.

February marks the birthdays of four American presidents; George Washington on February 22, Abraham Lincoln on February 12, William Henry Harrison on February 9, and Ronald Reagan on February 6. However, it’s important to note that according to federal law, the holiday celebrated in February is also recognized as “Washington’s Birthday” but informally is known as Presidents’ Day.

In 2024, much like every year, Presidents’ Day retains substantial significance in the United States, acting as an ineradicable reminder of the nation’s profound history, democratic ideals, and the crucial role played by its leaders.

“2009 Five Presidents, President George W. Bush, President Elect Barack Obama, Former Presidents George H W Bush, Bill Clinton & Jimmy Carter, Standing” by Beverly & Pack is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

Legacy

As the US Presidents carry an important and reputable legacy, they are seen differently through different generations’ eyes.

Osceola Campus Student Development Accounting Specialist Janice Casillas stated, “It is important that our younger generation knows what each of our past presidents has contributed and the obstacles they had to overcome to achieve the safety and security of all citizens including giving their own lives.”

Casilla also spoke about pumas’ knowledge of political issues. “Presidents Day can be utilized to promote civic engagement and political awareness among college students by facilitating guest lectures featuring different perspectives,” Casilla said. “Live debates that challenge our students to think critically and engage in the political issue being brought up can be incorporated to establish more methods into an existing course or develop new ones that expand and establish a network of faculty committed to this area of teaching.”

Casillas’ impactful words exemplify the need to acknowledge politics and current issues, while facilitating its implementation through fun activities for students.

Current U.S. President Joe Biden. Image: “Vice President Joseph Biden 2” by West Point – The U.S. Military Academy is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Civic Engagement

Valencia College students were asked about the meaning of Presidents’ Day. Luis Camposano, Osceola Campus Answer Center Student Service Advisor, stated, “Presidents’ Day is about different people stepping up, about past leaders and a sign of freedom as well.” He added, “As a kid, I never really knew about Presidents’ Day and through time I started thinking about old presidents and new ones as well.”

Camposano also stated that engaging with current topics in politics can be done through events and classes. “We should focus on the current presidents and what they can do for us rather than the past,” He said. “I think if we engage in events and classes, we can solidify our knowledge about our political rights.”

Student Development Student Leader Sara Bell, says, “Presidents’ Day is a day to commemorate George Washington and to celebrate the presidents of America in general and their leadership.” She explained, “Our generation is so out of touch with history that somehow involving the younger generations through school, clubs, and activities, whether on campus and off campus, would be very valuable.”

Bell also highlighted a need for activities that are pleasurable yet highly efficient towards gaining political knowledge. “We are clueless about a lot of things that happened through history because our generation lost interest in the historical foundations and the past,” she stated. Bell believes that due to the lack of attentiveness to historical achievements, politics and its history are unfamiliar to many students.

Student Development Student Leader Stalin Ahmed says, “President’s Day is an important day for all the citizens, so younger people should know more about our history and leaders that could be done with school events. By coming up with fun things, such as trivia and quiz shows.” 

“The role of our presidents is highly significant to our history and recognizing the past and current political issues is important.” 

For some, it solely is an ordinary federal holiday and a symbol of American presidential history. For others, it represents immense historical, political, and social justice significance. Nonetheless, it is a symbol of multiple achievements through different legacies, civic engagement among many age groups including Valencia College students ,and leadership that have led the United States to become what it is today.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Beatriz Trujillo, Reporter

Beatriz Trujillo is pursuing an associate’s degree in Political Science at Valencia College and is a member of the Seneff Honors College. Her passions include journalism, reading about the economy and writing about social and political settings.

Comments (0)

All Valencia Voice Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *