The following appeared in the New Hampshire Union Leader 03/12/2014:
While adults voted for operating budgets and elected officials, kids also had some deci- sions to make on Tuesday evening as they practiced casting ballots as part of the “Kids Vote” project.
Leading up to election day, students at both Center Woods Elementary and Weare Middle School had lessons in civics and learned about the importance of voting, said Center Woods Assistant Principal Laura Stoneking.
“The students had in- school lessons about civic responsibility and had the opportunity to work with practice ballots,” Stoneking said.
They also had a chance to make a link in a paper “chain of responsibility” designed to show the students how everyone is connected in making democracy work. Each link included an idea from the students about what they could do to improve or express civic responsibility. The chain was carried through the hallway at Center Woods during a voting day rally on Tuesday.
On Tuesday evening, the chain became part of the decorations for a table where kids of all ages could come and vote on kid-related issues.
Special ballots, made to look very similar to the ones their parents were using, were available at the table. The ballots asked questions about what the kids would like to see. They could vote for an archery challenge against Middle School Principal Mark Willis, or they could vote to make Mrs. Stoneking sing or do a funny dance at the next all-school meeting. There were also questions about seat- ing arrangements at all-school meetings, offering archery in all grades, and a write-in question about the types of toys or equipment the kids would like to have at recess.
“I know these ideas sound funny, but our desire to engage students abouttheir civic responsibilities and the importance of vot- ing meant we had to come up with things for them to vote on that were important to students,”said Center Woods Principal Jess Potter.
“We want our students to grow up to take their civic responsibilities very seriously; we want them to know their vote is important, and that it counts. If we can have a little fun along the way, that is even better,” said Potter.
Sydney Pollard, 10, a student at the Weare Middle School, said she voted against having her princi- pal partake in an archery competition. “I don’t do archery, and I don’t really care for it,” she said. Her sister, Sophia, 8, voted in favor of having Potter compete in a jump roping competition at Center Woods Elementary. “I do jump roping club, so I think it would be fun to see Mrs. Potter do jump roping,” Sophia said.