Students spend day in candidates shoes
Campaign signs fill the halls of Sierra House Elementary School, as pseudo politicians compete to become the next president of the United States.
“Al’s your pal” and “Vote for George W. Bush … USA Rocks!” posters are part of fifth-grade teacher Gloria Beane’s mock presidential primary.
“This is part of a civics unit we put together,” Beane said.
Shane Butler, Nathan Garofalos, Holly Humlick, Devin Middlebrook and Ashley Rumble played Bradley, Gore, McCain, Bush and Keyes, respectfully.
Each student researched their candidate’s values and goals and wrote speeches.
The class of “registered voters” heard the candidates speak on Monday. They will cast their ballots today.
“We made sample ballots, and kids had to register to vote,” said fifth-grade registrar Patrick Stewart. “And we even have our own polls.”
Students said the mock election was good practice for when they are old enough to vote “for real.”
“This will prepare us for the future when we can really vote,” Kyle Davis said. “And we learned that we shouldn’t vote for just Democrats or Republicans. We should vote for what they stand for.”
Rumble said pretending to be a presidential candidate has helped her understand the election process.
“This is a really good way to do our social studies because we have to take in a lot and remember it so we can tell it to the other people,” she said. “It’s not like just reading about it in a textbook.”
Garofalos said representing Gore was fun.
“We learned about our candidates from newspapers and we had to watch CNN at 5 and 6 p.m., then put together our speeches,” he said.
Butler said he did most of his research on the Internet.
“I got the information for Bill Bradley from America Online,” he said.
It is worthwhile to introduce students to political issues and the voting process at an early age, according to Beane.
“I think it’s important that children learn early about their responsibilities as citizens,” she said.
Justin Holman looks forward to when he is old enough to have his say.
“It’s important to vote because maybe your vote will make a difference,” Holman said. “And you shouldn’t complain if you’re not going to vote.”
Student polls are open today from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
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