Southern Elementary students held mock elections
By TERRI REUTER
Publications/public information coordinator,
Southern York County School District
Glen Rock, Pa – Fourth-graders at Southern Elementary School learned about the political process recently when they posed as candidates, debated one another, and held mock elections to promote the issues and stress the importance of voting.
The students represented each of the presidential and vice presidential candidates and spoke on their behalf. As part of the election process, the fourth-graders formed committees, studied the issues, designed ballot boxes, election booths, and voter registration cards. On Election Day, they also operated the election booths so students could vote.
Pennsylvania State Senator Michael Waugh and State Representative Ron Miller visited the school during the debate and discussed the importance of voting.
“I am excited to witness the Southern Elementary School Presidential Debate of 2012,” Sen. Waugh told the student body. “Listen to where they stand on the issues as you make up your minds on how to vote.”
The presidential candidates included Alexandra Somerville as President Barack Obama and Nick Holloway as Mitt Romney. Christian Hetzer portrayed Vice President Joe Biden and Savannah Lesley played candidate Paul Ryan. Debate moderator, performed by Valerie Harrigan, asked each candidate their stance on specific issues. They answered questions about education, health care, immigration, social security, and the economy.
“I practiced emphasizing the words and talking slowly,” Hetzer said about his speech.
Holloway said he enjoyed standing and speaking in front of all of the students, even though he admitted to being a little nervous.
“This was a great opportunity for the students to learn about the government,” Fourth Grade Teacher Sue Thomas said and added that she picked discussion topics the students would understand.
“The kids were so engaging and articulated so well,” parent, Sandy Harrigan said of each candidate. “They read their parts with confidence.”
To prepare for her role as moderator, Valerie Harrigan watched the news and some of the actual debates on television. “She studied the role of the moderator and asked questions,” Sandy Harrigan said of her daughter.
Senator Mike Waugh, left, and State Rep. Ron Miller, far right, pose with the student candidates, from left, Savannah Lesley, Nick Holloway, Valerie Harrigan, Alexandra Somerville and Christian Hetzer.