Shepard, District 218 students re-elect president in mock election
Perhaps not surprisingly, students from Shepard, Richards and Eisenhower high schools selected President Barack Obama for a second term in their mock election last Friday.
Obama, who's enjoyed great popularity among the nation's youth, won 77 percent of the vote, followed by Republic candidate Mitt Romney with 16 percent, the Libertarian candidate with 4 percent, and the Green Party ticket with 3 percent.
Social studies teachers campaigned hard to motivate hundreds of their students to register, just like a real election. Students only experience one presidential campaign during high school, so teachers viewed the election as a prime civics lesson.
“We encouraged our 18-year old seniors to register and vote in the real election, but we wanted the same experience for all interested students to give them an opportunity to voice their opinions,” said social studies teacher John Wydra, who coordinated the District 218 mock election.
Studies show that students who experience ‘practice’ elections are more likely to participate in the democratic process.
“We teach our students every day to think critically and independently, so this was a great opportunity for them to exercise those skills,” Wydra said.
Just like a real election, students needed to register in advance. Part of the lesson involved turning away students who failed to register.
“Some students expressed disappointment that they could not vote, but that was a good learning experience for them,” Wydra said.
The experience even prompted political talk among students. That doesn’t happen every day.
“The best moment was seeing how proud some of the students were after they voted. I saw students return to their lunch tables and talk about who they voted for with their friends who didn't vote,” Wydra said.