Duane Bonifer  |   Published March 05, 2022

Promoting Citizenship

Trustees’ Scholar Kailyn Gore founded and operated a nonprofit to increase civic education among New Jersey’s middle school and high school students.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Kailyn Gore has made quite an impact on her community. In addition to running her own nonprofit to increase civic participation, the Cherokee High School senior successfully lobbied the New Jersey state legislature to change the education requirements for high school students in the Garden State.

She’s also been an honor student, a varsity athlete and has been involved in several political campaigns. And now the Marlton, New Jersey, resident is one of four Monmouth College Trustees’ Scholars in the Class of 2026. Trustees’ Scholars, who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and leadership in their schools and communities, receive a four-year tuition scholarship, worth more than $160,000 at the national liberal arts college.

KAILYN GORE: ?The major thing that made me interested in Monmouth was the interaction I had with ... KAILYN GORE: “The major thing that made me interested in Monmouth was the interaction I had with the professors. I wanted to have the kind of family feel from the professors at the College that I have at my high school.”Gore heard about Monmouth from her high school Latin teacher, Mathew Underwood, who graduated from the College in 1998.

“Mr. Underwood has repeatedly said that Monmouth College changed his life for the better, and he’s probably been one of the best teachers I’ve had,” said Gore, who plans to major in international studies and continue her studies of classics at Monmouth in preparation for law school.

Gore said she received “a really warm welcome email” from Monmouth classics professor Robert Simmons when she was accepted into the College, and she also was impressed with the conversations she had with political science professor Andre Audette.

“The major thing that made me interested in Monmouth was the interaction I had with the professors,” said Gore. “I wanted to have the kind of family feel from the professors at the College that I have at my high school. I also got a really good feeling of community from the Monmouth students I met. You can tell that they really care about one another.”

Gore is founder and executive director of the non-profit Civic Wave. What began as a club with the focus of advocating for expanded civic education at her school grew into a movement that helped get legislation passed to require all of New Jersey’s public middle school and high school students to receive civics instruction.

“I’m happy that my generation will have this basic foundation of civics education and be encouraged to build upon it so that we’re not running into this problem where they are swayed a certain way because they don’t have the basic knowledge of how to look through the information that they’re presented,” she said.

Gore credits her parents – mother, Cristina Pasquale, and father, Donald Gore – with instilling in her a healthy interest in politics and current affairs. In addition to forming Civic Wave, Gore has worked on congressional campaigns, as well as races for the New Jersey statehouse. She said that campaigning has taught her the big difference between federal and state races.

“From those experiences and working with people on the state level, I’ve seen how little the average voter knows about how their local community runs and what’s going on in their municipality,” she said.

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