By Tricia Kennedy
Excitement was buzzing through the hallways of The Renaissance School on Tuesday, Nov. 6, as students chattered about the Presidential Election taking place that day. The school launched an all-inclusive mock election, which was anything but childish to the children of the K–8 Shelburne Farms based school. Voting booths were brought in for the occasion and each student was able to step inside a confidential booth and use a ballot to make his/her selection. The older students volunteered to assist the younger ones in the process and tally the votes.
Julia Beerworth, a fifth through seventh grade teacher, organized the event after a comprehensive period studying politics and government with her class. Beerworth noted, “it is truly fascinating to see the level of interest in the election process from the entire student body, and as a teacher, it is particularly rewarding to see the link between classroom teaching and learning to real world experiences such as voting.” The fifth through seventh grade students continued an in-depth coverage of the election and politics as they held their own classroom debates and elections of their peers to class office.
Seventh grader Caleb Morehouse had this to say about the process, “although I was happy with the election results, I do feel like we should re-examine the need for an electoral college. I think voting should be based on popular vote instead.”
Political participation was not limited to the older children at Renaissance, however. Every class spent time learning about the importance of voting, the essentials of Election Day details and about the different political parties.
At the end of the day, Beerworth and her enthusiastic helpers made their rounds through the classrooms, divulging the highly anticipated results. The verdict: the Renaissance children and teachers voted Barack Obama in for a second term with 60 votes to Mitt Romney’s 21.