GULF SHORES — Eagle Forum of Alabama's Theresa Hubbard spoke Wednesday to a group of students at Gulf Shores High School. The students in the Turning Point USA chapter have been learning about national and local politics through programs and speaker appearances.

"It's really great because living in Gulf Shores, we kind of live in our own bubble," said junior Baylen Byrd. "But we see things going on more in the north and being in Alabama, it's really good to represent our state, our school and our community."

Hubbard addressed national security, which she has a unique perspective on due to serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. Hubbard said the top issues facing the nation right now are politicians in general, China relations, the southern border, illegal immigrants and fentanyl.

"It's coming from China and the Asian organized crime groups that go to the Mexican cartels who then synthesize it into fake heroin, opioids, and methamphetamines," Hubbard said. "So sometimes you're buying something on the street, and you think it's one thing, but it's not. It's fentanyl. And that's how the people are dying because they're taking something that they don't know what it is. It can now be ordered online on the dark web and sent directly to your home. Don't do that!"

Chapter sponsor Austin Boyd said the school has 102 Turning Point USA members, the largest in the nation. He said speakers like Hubbard help bring issues to the students' attention.

"What we really do is we discuss social topics and political topics and opinions from both sides," Boyd said. "You need to learn both sides of an issue. That way, you can make your own decisions and determination.

A student started the chapter in 2017, with only five members in the first year.

Boyd said one of the most important topics they have discussed is "what is a liberal and what is a conservative."

Students told 1819 News they appreciated the opportunity.

Hope Oubre is a senior. She has been in Turning Point USA since her sophomore year.

"I like being able to be informed about different things," Oubre said. "You never know what's really going on until you're around people who do."

Chapter liaison and junior Bella Qualls said she has benefited from being informed about what's happening in the world even though she can't vote yet.

"It's important for me because the next generation, that's our future," Qualls said. "I believe this generation is what's going to maybe change the people."

Qualls said Boyd also ensures all students understand both sides of hot topics.

"He kind of talks to us about different perspectives and it's really great," she added. "It's a great learning experience."

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