Gibault students hold mock presidential election - Republic-Times | News

Gibault students hold mock presidential election

By on October 24, 2012 at 10:20 am

Gibault sophomores Julianna Hollmann (left) and Megan Branz (right) cast ballots on Tuesday during the school’s mock presidential election. (Teryn Schaefer photo)

Election Tuesday is less than two weeks away, but Gibault Catholic High School students  received a taste of the voting process by stepping up to the ballot box this week.

The high school held a mock video debate Thursday to show some key points and responses from President Barack Obama and his challenger, Mitt Romney, from the first televised presidential debate.

Students were then required to register to vote Friday and Monday during lunch, followed by election day on Tuesday, when students cast their votes in actual booths set up in the school lobby.

“It is neat and exciting to watch them want to be involved,” said Gibault civics teacher Heather Johnson.

Just like with any campaign or election, the planning process began well in advance. In the summer, Gibault senior Molly Diehl approached the school with an idea to hold a mock presidential election.

“It was really important to me because I turn 18 this year and I am eligible to vote, but I know the majority of the kids aren’t able to vote,” Diehl explained. “I just think it is nice for them to know how it works when they are eligible to vote, because most of them won’t be in high school anymore and they will be off on their own.”

She then got the Gibault Student Council on board to help with her mission.

“It really is a good learning process, to be able to see what really goes on. And to find out what you think,” said student council member Olivia Hollman, who helped organize an election when she was in grade school at Immaculate Conception School during the 2008 Presidential Election. “To get informed has really encouraged people to find out what the candidates stand for and what they believe in.”

According to Hollman, only a select few students did not register to vote. Gibault officially had 67 percent voter turnout.

Johnson, also the student council supervisor, said the students have been excited to feel a part of the election and that in class discussions about the election, about nine out of 10 students say the economy will be one of the main issues for voters.

“I have found that they are watching the debates and want to talk about them in class. As a civics teacher, that makes me extra excited that they are trying to make informed decisions,” Johnson said.

According to Gibault Principal Russ Hart, the school’s election results have turned out to be overwhelmingly conservative in the three elections that he has been with Gibault. He also believes that they very closely reflect the votes of the students’ parents as well.
Diehl, Hollman and Johnson also think many students vote the same as their parents.

“…Because a lot of them are influenced by their parents and their parents will most likely be voting. So, you could say it is what we might be able to see throughout our county what the votes might be,” Diehl said.

But Hollman was quick to point out “there are a couple people who are into researching and finding out what they think” on their own.

As for the results? Romney won with 62 percent of the vote,  with President Obama receiving 27 percent and 11 percent going to third party candidates and write-ins.

Teryn Schaefer

Teryn was born and raised in Waterloo, growing up watching local sports and Mon-Clair baseball. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School and loves cheering on her Tigers any chance she gets.