Columnist Ruben Navarrette addresses AP Government students


On Oct. 31, Ruben Navarrette, a nationally syndicated columnist with The Washington Post Writers Group, spoke to Mr. Aster’s AP Government class, divulging his history and answering students’ questions. In addition to his writing career, Navarrette is a popular speaker on the national lecture circuit, having toured dozens of  universities, conferences and town halls.

Since AP Government is currently examining a unit on media, Aster invited syndicated columnist Navarrette, who started off his speech by explaining how his passion for writing began.

“I grew up in a small town, and I always grew up with the intention of getting out,” Navarrette. “I started to like to write in 9th grade, and I had my English teacher tell me to pursue writing. I had that same teacher in 11th grade reinforce that.”

Although he had always intended on pursuing a career in law, writing soon lost its appeal as only a hobby; instead, it became a likely career choice.

“I studied American history with the intention to become a lawyer, due to may dad’s being a police officer,” Navarrette said. “I eventually took the path less traveled by. I felt compelled to write, my only concern being that it wouldn’t pay the bills.”

Navarrette described how, eventually, his articles found their way into columns around the United States; now, they appear in as many as 150 newspapers. Having partaken in multiple sectors of the media, Navarrette has gained sizable experience, and during his lecture, he introduced the issue of decreasing motivation to the government students.

“Twelve years, 2,000 columns,” Navarrette said.  “I learned a lot of things. One of the most important being that we are growing up in a time where we don’t have the values our parents and grandparents had; we work much less hours for more pay.”

He speculates that since high school students’ lives have been significantly easier compared to their past generations, their motivations will weaken as a result.

“Your parents had that push, they had that fight in them, they had a sense of purpose,” Navarrette said. “Our life has been relatively good, but our struggle is to keep the fire going.”

Upon hearing this, the seniors responded that their outlook on life had changed, and they appreciated his taking the time to speak with them.

“To hear Mr. Navarrette’s life story and suggestions was interesting,” senior Thien Lee said. “I really have never heard such detailed perspective of today’s media,it was well worth the class time to listen to him.”