Spain Park students learn through mock electionPublished 11:41am Monday, November 12, 2012
By RICHARD PARKER / Community Columnist
For the third presidential election in a row, Spain Park High School students learned more about the value of their right to vote by participating in a national mock election, thanks in part to Cheryl Morrow, AP Government teacher at Spain Park, along with the social sciences teachers at the school and volunteer parents.
Students were required to register two weeks before the school’s Nov. 1 voting date by filling out a form, placing it in an envelope and leaving it with their social studies teacher during class. All 1,566 students at the school were eligible to register to vote and just more than 1,500 did so.
On voting day, the library checked students as they filed in to verify they were registered voters just as the voting public must do at their designated polling places. Once verified, they could proceed to one of the many laptop computers set up for them to cast their vote on a central website where votes were recorded as a national total and as specific to the school.
After voting, they left with an “I Voted” sticker identical to those used in polling places.
Cheryl Morrow explained that “improving voter responsibility is the lesson. When students can get involved and actually experience what it feels like to become informed on the whole voting process, they start to understand more about the importance of this right.”
The 18 year-old students who registered to vote in the actual election went to the polls as more knowledgeable and responsible voters.
Demetris Pope, a 15- year-old sophomore, was excited about her experience. “I’ve learned that voting is important and you must know what you are voting for. When you understand the responsibility it makes you more interested in politics and you listen better to the teachers as they explain the options. I voted for the right reasons.”
Who won was not particularly important — the students voted to elect Mitt Romney, though the election was close — for the real winners were the participating students. In this case, the journey was the objective. The process was the goal.
Richard Parker can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.