MEDFORD, Ore. – It’s a right they’ll have in about four years; the eighth graders at Hedrick Middle School are taking part in a mock election, participating in what their teacher Mr. Voskes calls “civics live.”
“We’ve created our own town hall, where everything is debated, everything is talked about, we’re getting away from looking at ads, and the name…and how this trickles down and impacts them,” explained Pieter Voskes, the social studies teacher at Hedrick Middle School.
All of the debating, just like in the real elections, comes down to voting. Each student filling out their own ballot online. As part of their social studies class, the students are learning how their voice can be heard.
“I’ve learned that people have a voice, and who they get to elect to lead their country and what happens in their country,” said one 8th grader, Joey Hunter.
When the next general election rolls around many of these students will be old enough to cast their real ballots.
“Hopefully they’ll walk away with enthusiasm for voting,” said Mr. Voskes, “the importance of it, and that they have a voice in the process.”
An importance some of the students already understand;teaching every voter a thing or two about why the democratic process is so important in this country.
“You should vote because people died to give you the right to vote, like for women and African-Americans that they weren’t always allowed to vote,” said another 8th grade student, Jeiel Mateola, “and I feel like they risked their lives to so that we can vote now.”
The class majority chose Governor Romney. The 8th graders also voted to pass the Medford measure to replace two county pools.