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Students have their say in election, too

By David Ball

The News staff writer

Elections not only matter to adults, but to children as well. And though they aren’t allowed to vote yet, children often have opinions on important issues and want to participate in their civic duties.

Kim Keith’s 11th grade U.S. History classes at Port Neches-Groves High School voted in class with a mock election Tuesday. All respondents plan to vote for real when they reach the legally required age of 17 years and 10 months.

“It is one of our most important rights to voice our opinion on who leads us,” she said. “It’s important to the young people to impact the future. Some also said they wished they had a better choice of candidates.”

Austin Hebert thinks race, taxes and the war in Iraq are important issues. He paid more attention to the election as Tuesday came around.

Hailey Savant said the issues of taxes tops her list of concerns and has for the past couple of months.

“I’m very excited about this race. There’s a lot of differences. History will be made by either electing candidates of race or gender,” Savant said.

Health care and the war are important to Kami Morvant while Braun Foster said gun control and taxes matter to him. Crystal Dailey was pleased Sarah Palin was baptized in Jesus’ name since no presidential or vice presidential candidate has done so.

Jeremy Schexnider was concerned about wealth redistribution.

“If we raise up the poor, it will hurt the people who are more well-off and who make over $250,000. We need to find a medium,” Schexnider said.

Keith’s second period class recorded six votes for Barack Obama, 17 for John McCain. Overall, her classes voted 33 for Obama, 84 for McCain.

Stephanie Nguyen, an 8th grade student in Candace Haggard’s U.S. History class at Central Middle School in Nederland, said her school and her class talk a lot about the election.

“Everybody has different opinions and we have debates. It’s exciting. History is being made with first African-American and females running,” she said.

Dylan McCowan thinks the war on terror and international relations with other countries and how they affect the U.S. in the future are important. Jana Joseph is “very excited” about the election.

“There’s a lot of debate around school and it’s easy to get them fired up. We learned about the history of U.S. elections and the Electoral College. It’s real exciting,” Joseph said.

“They’re so excited,” Haggard said. “They’ve been talking about it for two weeks. They’ve learned about the Electoral College and political parties, using a voter registration card and asking adults who they vote for and why.”

Central Middle School voted 413 for McCain, 271 for Obama in their mock election.

Students at Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Port Arthur participated in a national election via computers sponsored by Weekly Reader called All Kids Vote. A nationwide map displayed how each student voted.

Students would use a voter’s registration card, sign in and receive a sticker after they voted.

Third grade teacher Norma Thibodeaux said the election is like a real life voting experience using the computers.

Kelsie Attaway is a 5th grade student. She said the election was fun and she voted for Obama. Malik Wilson is also in the 5th grade and called the voting experience “easy.” He too, voted for Obama.

Voting results for Washington were not available.