Kids across Floyd County have been learning about voting this year, and after a tough two months on the campaign trail, they will cast their ballots on Nov. 8.
However, instead of Trump or Clinton, they will be electing Carter or Reagan or maybe even Duck or Grace as president.
“We thought this election was a little too intense for the elementary and primary students,” explained Judy Roebuck, gifted teacher at Alto Park Elementary. “The gifted teachers in the county do usually let the kids vote like they are participating in the real election, but it seemed best this year to choose some other candidates.”
Roebuck chose to use former presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan as her school’s candidates. The children get the added benefit of doing some historical research on two influential men, as well as learning about elections and the voting process. Roebuck also has plans for an inaugural ball in January, so the children may celebrate their choices.
“The Kaleidoscope students are doing the research on them and choosing which man they want to campaign for,” she explained. “During October, we’ll campaign. The fifth and fourth grade classes will be voting for our ‘president’ in November, just like their parents.”
At Glenwood Primary, gifted teacher April Cummings is helping her students develop campaigns and learn about elections as well, however, her students — first-and-second-graders — will choose between two beloved storybook characters, Duck and Grace.
“Duck for President” is a book focusing on a politically motivated duck who decides to run for president in his barnyard after growing tired of working for Farmer Brown. “Grace for President” tells the story of a little girl who is upset because none of the presidents are girls, so she decides to run herself.
“We’ve been campaigning since Sept. 1,” Cummings said. “I have 11 students on Duck’s side and 11 students on Grace’s team. They have made posters and are encouraging their fellow students to vote.”
The kindergarten through second grade students at Glenwood will vote. In order for the schools’ elections to be more realistic, teachers decided to have an age cut-off, Cummings said.
“Just like you cannot vote if you are under 18, we decided that our pre-K students were too young,” she explained.
At Glenwood, students broadcasted on their morning show about the election and then took to the hallways, hanging posters for Grace and Duck and holding up signs encouraging students to vote. They also hung a handmade poster up for their carline to see during pickup last week.
Alto Park students also gathered in their carline to encourage their parents to vote. The carline was greeted with shouts of “voting matters,” and an Uncle Sam balloon that towered over most of the young elections experts.
“It’s exciting,” said Alto Park student Candice Staney. “We learned about campaigning and how to get out in the community to help register to vote.”
Jeneva Powell of Alto agreed, adding that the best thing she learned is “how much voting makes a difference in your country.”
Jeneva also managed to make sure everyone was registered.
“Before I answer your question, are you registered to vote?” she asked.
As they marched down the hallways of their school, hanging handmade posters, Glenwood students discussed the best things they learned as they studied elections.
“We learned about what makes a good leader,” explained Caleb Larson. “Good leaders are kind and they share ideas.”
Jack Thacker said he learned a lot about George Washington.
“He was the first president,” Jack said. “He was lucky though, he didn’t have to campaign.”
Kayden Johnson said she chose to campaign for Grace in Glenwood’s election.
“She doesn’t give up and she doesn’t like bullying,” Kayden said.