Local kids voting for president

Students at several local schools will cast their votes for president during an Oct. 30 nationwide mock election through the "Every Kid Votes" project. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

When Thompson Sixth Grade Center Principal Dr. Wesley Hester saw the passion his students exhibited when discussing the upcoming presidential election, he was immediately impressed.

“Our kids have done a really good job,” Hester said. “They’ve been passionate, but they’ve also been very cordial and objective.”

Since kicking off the “Every Kid Votes” program at the school in late October, students at TSGC and several other local schools have experienced nearly every step of the political process.

Through the nationwide program, students have hosted and participated in presidential debates, studied campaign issues and stated their cases for one of the presidential candidates.

In addition to TSGC, Kingwood Christian School, Meadow View Elementary, Creek View Elementary, Thompson Intermediate School, Shelby Crossings Christian School, Thompson Intermediate School, Chelsea Park Elementary, Calera Middle and Shelby Middle also are participating in the program.

The program has challenged the students to research the nation’s presidential candidates before choosing a candidate to support in the upcoming election.

“They’ve looked at the facts of each candidate, like foreign policy and the economy. They go through all the areas,” Hester said. “The students then take sides and state their opinions.”

TSGC decided to take part in the program to give kids a real-world look at what it takes to make an informed decision on election day. Hester said school faculty members encouraged the kids to throw out any preconceived ideas they had about the candidates and base their opinions on facts.

“Especially lately, you hear a lot more negative than positive. You hear why a candidate is the wrong choice, but you don’t hear a lot about why a candidate is the right choice,” Hester said. “So the kids will actually go in and review and read each candidate’s platform. We let them make up their own minds.”

After learning about the candidates and campaigning for them, the kids will vote in a nationwide online mock presidential election on Oct. 30. During the 2004 and 2008 “Every Kid Votes” campaigns, kids accurately predicted the president both times.