Hurricane Sandy did not dampen patriotic enthusiasm at Fuller Middle School 353 students and staff voted for their choice of Presidential candidate in a mock election, representing 93% of the school's “registered” voters or 66% of the school’s population (including both students and staff) and beating national statistics of 57% voter turnout.
The winner? Barack Obama with 81% of the votes - and the students.
The mock election was preceded by three weeks of focus in Social Studies classes on the history of Presidential Elections, the purpose and approach of the Electoral College and homework assignments related to viewing the Presidential debates.
"We kicked off voter registration with an all-school rally," says Social Studies teacher, Carol Virdinlia. “The auditorium was decorated with student-created posters featuring their preferred candidate, reminders about deadlines for voter registration and historical facts about elections. Our objective was to build awareness about the importance of our right to vote, particularly among a student population that is diverse and includes many new American citizens."
Students were given two weeks to complete their registration and bring it to the main office. As with US Citizens, if the application was incomplete or not submitted, students were not allowed to participate in the mock election.
"We wanted our students to experience the actual process as closely as possible," said Social Studies teacher, Barbara Fine, "and to create a sense of ownership and pride in voting." Those who didn't register looked on as their peers went to the voting stations and walked out with "I Voted" stickers and red, white and blue beads.
"This is one of the ways we are working to engage our students in important community events and leadership activities," says Juan Rodriguez, Fuller Middle School Principal.