The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 29, 2012

Lyons Middle School students get a real-life election lesson

By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON —

Lyons Middle School sixth- and eighth-grade students are learning about the election process by holding campaigns of their own.

“I just want them to get excited about the political process,” sixth-grade Social Studies teacher Eric Slocum said. Slocum and eighth-grade teacher Eric Lueders are holding elections in each of their four classes to teach their students about everything that goes into the process. Four candidates each for the Republican and Democratic parties were chosen in each class and teams were created for each candidate.

Each team had a candidate, a campaign manager, a speech writer, an artist and a journalist. Posters and speeches were created and mock interviews were held.

Macy Mulholland, a sixth-grader from the second-period class, worked as campaign manager for Republican candidate Matt Swamberger, who won the primary election for that period. She enjoyed working on the posters. The classes held debates and primary elections on Tuesday. Mulholland wrote her candidate’s speech and felt great that she helped him win the Republican nomination. She also enjoyed hearing everyone’s opinion on the military, taxes and other issues.

Slocum’s classroom was decked out in patriotic colors, with banners and flags hanging everywhere. He said Land Eye Center donated some of the flags. Teachers and helpers also pitched in donating items and decorating the room for Tuesday’s debate. Slocum was also grateful to Turner Electric for donating two voting booths for his classroom.

Candidates answered questions on a variety of issues. He said the candidates and their teams did wonderfully. After the debates, the primary elections were held and those who did not win later worked on the team of their party’s candidate.

“I liked being able to work with my friends and being able to talk about what my actual ideas were,” Madison Winkel, one of the Republican candidates from the second-period sixth-grade class, said.

Ryann Hubbart was one of the two Democratic candidates in second period to win with a tie.

She was excited to be moving on, especially since her sister was one of the eighth-grade candidates.

She thought everyone did an awesome job.

Republican Candidate Joey Kedley did not win the nomination. However, he was really eager to continue on with Swamberger as their candidate. He enjoyed the debate and seeing what the other students’ opinions were.

“I just thought this was really fun,” Democratic Candidate Jackson Van Lancker, who tied with Hubbart, said.

On Thursday, Nov. 1, the sixth- and eighth-grade classes will meet together for a debate.

At that time, the students will vote to pick one Republican and one Democratic eighth-grade candidate for “president.” The presidential candidates will then choose a sixth-grade candidate to be their running mate.

A special rally and debate will be 2:30 p.m. Nov. 5 in the school gymnasium. During that time, the students will vote.

This is the first year Slocum has held elections but he hopes to continue the lesson.