Students rally before today’s mock election at Brandywine

Published 6:41 am Tuesday, November 2, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Students at Brandywine Middle-High School are going to the polls today to decide who should be the next president of the United States.
Although many of them are not of legal voting age, students will cast their ballots for either President George W. Bush or Senator John Kerry in a mock election put on by David Roeder's block seven government class.
Four weeks of hard work and campaigning by students representing the Bush and Kerry campaigns culminated with a school-wide rally for the election Monday.
Before the "candidates" gave their final speeches before the election, students were encouraged to get involved in future elections even if they couldn't vote by volunteering for election campaigns.
There was a noticeable amount of booing among the cheers from the crowd when junior Loydenae Kittleson, or President Bush, was introduced.
Kittleson touched topics such as the war in Iraq and America's success in the war on terrorism during her speech.
To conclude her speech, Kittleson urged students, "Tomorrow, vote Bush."
A raucous cheer rose from the crowd when Brian Westveer, or Senator Kerry, was introduced.
Westveer spoke about "his" plans if elected, which include increasing the effectiveness of the Patriot Act to stop terrorists, while limiting its effect on citizen's civil liberties.
After each candidate made their speech, balloons and confetti rained down on the students from the gymnasium balcony.
Before the student body was let out of the gymnasium, Roeder urged the students to be respectful when voters visited Brandywine Middle-High School to vote in the library on election day.
Students will take to the polls during lunch hours today to choose the candidate they feel will best lead this country for the next four years.
The candidates were nominated by their classmates to represent the presidential candidates in the mock election. Kittleson said she was surprised when she was nominated to represent President Bush.
Kittleson said the four weeks of research and campaigning were hard work but a lot of fun.
But when it came time for her speech, she was extremely nervous, she confessed.
Kittleson, who is a Bush supporter although she can't vote at the age of 16, said she feels that students need to become active in politics because the decisions made in the election will affect them.
The two candidates campaigned during lunch hours, recorded commercials which were shown over the school televisions, and met with their constituents, shaking hands and taking polls of the student body.
Roeder, who has held mock elections for his government classes in 1996 and 2000 in the past, said the mock election is a fun way for the students to get interested and to learn the issues.
Students in Roeder's class watched the debates in class and studied past elections as part of the experience.
Roeder hopes the mock election makes the students more aware of the election and hopes they'll watch it with more interest because they took part in the mock election at school.