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Obama, math win student vote

POSTED: November 18, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo by Lauren Hunsberger/

The school broadcast results on its closed circuit television network throughout the day.

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Barack Obama fared even better than math in a mock election among Snelson-Golden Middle School students Friday.
In a landslide, the Democratic Obama/Biden ticket won with 81 percent of the votes. Republicans McCain/Palin received 16 percent and Libertarians Barr/Root got 3 percent of the 668 votes cast.
Students had to have registered and present ID cards when they voted.
Regardless of the outcome, administrators and teachers said the children really won.
“We tried to make it as close to real life as possible,” teacher John Ryan said. “It’s a way we can connect our academics with real life.”
Principal Dr. Chris Garretson said it was an opportunity for students to learn the process so they will vote in the future, as well as understand what their parents are doing on Tuesday.
“I think this activity represents how we view our academics. We try to make everything as real-life as possible,” Garretson said. “I’m also very interested to see our results against the real elections.”
Ryan, who was instrumental in setting up the election, said students electronically voted on three questions: Who do you want to be the next president/vice president, what is your favorite subject and what is your favorite elective class?
“We tried to center it on issues that they can get involved in,” Ryan said.
Snelson-Golden televised the results on the school’s closed circuit network to classrooms throughout the day.
The learning process was not just a one-day course. Many social studies teachers have been incorporating the elections and issues into classes for weeks. Ryan also said that for the week leading up to the elections, students talked about the candidates during morning announcements.
“It’s a step-off point to talk about the elections and the ballot, and how the ballot’s organized,” Ryan said. “It’s preparation.”
And, apparently all the hype worked as the students were geared up for both the school and national elections.
Sydney Diaz, an eighth grader and poll worker, said she and her classmates were excited.
“Everyone’s jittery and happy. It’s really fun,” she said. “We made campaign posters.”
Some of the children even formed opinions about certain candidates.
“We were studying them in first period, and I chose Barack Obama because I like his ideas more than McCain’s,” said sixth grader Marvin Jones, who was thrilled to be voting. “It was exciting. It was something I’ve never done before and it will make it easier on me when I’m older.”
The mock election’s voters included special education students. Trang Black, teacher for autistic students, said it’s just as important for her students to learn the process.
“It’s important because they can vote when they’re adults too,” Black said.
 

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