Civics Unplugged is a club offered by Arthur L. Johnson High School. It is dedicated to discussing politics and pressing world issues. The groups six members are Seniors: Maryann Makosiej, Kayla Dias, Brenner Gull, and Bailey Latza, and Juniors: Gabriella Cuccaro, and Nicole Katz. They travel to the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute in New York City, each month where they learn through in depth exploration of governance, policy, and politics. The students are exposed to different perspectives and opinions about certain issues. Each forum secession helps benefit their growth in becoming an active civic leader in their community.
Recently the television program Classroom Close-up, which is dedicated to featuring innovative and creative programs that New Jersey public schools offer, noticed ALJ’s participation in Civics Unplugged and decided to film the club for its program.
The segment was filmed on February 6, 2018 at Arthur L. Johnson and is entitled, “Civics Unplugged”. In the program, the students tackled the topic of social media and its impact on journalism on our society. The students first were debriefed on the issue of social media by one of the founders of Civics Unplugged, Jeffrey Silverman and the school's advisor to the club Mr. Stebbins. The students tackled thought provoking question and explained their thoughts and opinions in depth during the program. Sean M. Spiller, the vice-president of NJEA also attended the filming.
Three of the students Maryann, Kayla, and Gabriella were also featured in separate interviews where they were asked questions about the club. “This experience was an amazing one to have. I have learned so much from Civics Unplugged and I hope to bring back the knowledge I have learned from the sessions to my community and spread awareness about it,” said Nicole Katz. The segment, “Civics Unplugged”, will be aired on May 13 and June 10, 2018.