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SJND Youth Vote 2018: Students Hit the Polls
In the days leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School students were reading up on state-level candidates and propositions and getting ready to vote - in a mock election.
Over 420 SJND students - and some prospective students who were on campus shadowing - turned out to vote in SJND’s Youth Vote 2018, a voting simulation activity to engage students in civic participation and democracy in action, organized by SJND’s English, social studies and science departments. Over the last few weeks, students received instruction on candidates and state propositions in their science, social studies, and English classrooms. AP Environmental Science (APES) and social studies students circulated voting information at lunch, sample ballots were distributed, and official voting took place in the library on November 1 and 2. All SJND students had the opportunity to vote.
Given that our student population draws from multiple counties and municipalities, the truncated ballot included three elective offices and the three propositions that the APES students felt had a direct connection to the environmental issues that they address in their curriculum. Social studies and 9th grade English teachers went over the voting guide with their students, answered questions and gave them a sample ballot to fill out thoughtfully to bring to the voting site in the library for the official vote casting.
English teacher Mrs. Cathy Fitzgerald explained the faculty’s goal behind the activity.
“Our hope is that students will not see voting as inconvenient - as unnecessary - but as a right that they should exercise with appreciation. A right that has been fought for by so many that came before them. A right that they should honor with their participation and their voices,” she said.
As for the student response, many spoke about the activity with enthusiasm.
“I like [Youth Vote] because it shows what our state of mind is right now and how we imagine the world to be,” said Derik Hyndman ’22.
“It helps us youth know what to do in the future, and that you have to really think about it. [Voting] is not just something you can walk in to,” explained Eden Fong ’22.
SJND Principal Mr. Ken Jennings shared about the activity in his weekly letter to parents, saying: “I am so proud of Mrs. Fitzgerald and the leadership of all the faculty who participated in this cross-curricular project. What an amazing way for our SJND students to learn a lesson in civics through the lens of so many academic departments! A cross-curricular approach to learning is so much more advantageous for our students who begin to see connections in knowledge within all areas of curriculum and departments. In addition, for students to learn about the civic responsibility of voting and voting with a knowledge of the issues is also one of the greatest lessons we can teach our young people.”
The classes will regroup to discuss the results and learnings from the process this week. Results from SJND’s Youth Vote 2018 can be found below.
SJND Youth Vote 2018 Results (winners bolded; not official results)
Governor's race-- Newsom: 291 (69%) Cox: 123 (29%)
Lt. Governor's race-- Kounolakis: 224 (53%) Hernandez: 183 (43%)
U.S. Senate race--DeLeon: 177 (42%) Feinstein: 233 (55%)
Proposition #3 (Water-projects bond)-- Yes: 336 (80%) No: 88 (21%)
Proposition #6 (Repeal of 2017 transportation taxes and fees)-- Yes: 130 (31%) No: 287 (69%)
Proposition #12 (Farm animal confinement standards)-- Yes: 309 (73%) No: 105 (25%)