President wins in Prairie Knolls Middle School mock election
By Denise Moran For The Courier-News November 8, 2012 6:02PM
Seventh grade student Stefan Rainbolt of Burlington casts his ballot while fellow student Zack Baumgartner of Plato Center and Kim Lewis, student services coordinator, man the voting booth.
Updated: December 10, 2012 6:17AM
ELGIN — In order to give the students at Prairie Knolls Middle School, 225 Nesler Road, a better understanding of the 2012 election, seventh-grade social studies teachers Zandra McGuire and Lindsay Smith put together a program that allowed students to vote on the same day that their parents and guardians put their marks on the ballot.
The final count of the popular vote at the school gave 221 votes to President Barack Obama and 169 votes to former Gov. Mitt Romney.
The final count of the electoral votes at the school gave 403 to Obama and 141 to Romney.
“In our classes, the kids studied the issues, watched the second presidential debate, and made posters that promoted one candidate and bashed the other,” said McGuire. “They had to register and show identification before they voted. Eighty-five percent of the students at the school were registered for our election.”
McGuire said that “the real purpose was to inspire them to learn about the issues and vote when they turn 18. We want them to be active and informed citizens. Maybe one of them will become a senator, a representative or even the president.”
“The polls at the school opened at 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday,” said Principal Theresa Kolkebeck. “There were election activities in all of the classrooms. The polls closed at 1:10, and there was an assembly at 1:30. We want to teach our students about the election process and make them more responsible citizens.”
Seventh-grade student Joseph Cesaroni of Plato Center performed the “Star Spangled Banner” on keyboard at the beginning of the assembly.
Students filled the bleachers and watched as two of their classmates at a time would announce the popular and electoral counts for each state. The colors of red and blue on a map of the United States indicated if a state was won for the Republican or the Democratic candidate.
McGuire told the students that while Washington, D.C., is a district instead of a state, it is given three electoral votes.
She also noted that even though it is much larger than Washington, D.C., Alaska also has three electoral votes due to the size of its population.
Before the election results, seventh-grade students offered their views on the candidates.
“President Obama will work to help improve our lives and get us out of the mess that Republicans got us into,” said Sydney Serritella of Elgin.
“President Obama spent money that was unnecessary,” said Elena Chapa from Maple Park. “Governor Romney can pull us out of the economic crisis.”
“I voted for President Obama because he went into office at the worst possible time,” said Zack Baumgartner of Plato Center. “He didn’t have enough time to fix what (former) President George W. Bush had done. I want to give Obama another four years.”
“I picked Governor Romney,” said Megan Mejewski of Elgin. “Obama had enough time to fix America. He had his chance.”