Millennium Charter Academy’s goal of educating intelligent, virtuous citizens to lead in a constitutional democracy is being bolstered by an upcoming Kids Voting project at the school.
Academy Kids Voting Project Coordinator Pamela Brayley said that the effort was originally suggested to local schools by Surry County Board of Elections Director Susan Jarrell. Brayley said Millennium was the only local school to take the option to implement the curriculum. The program is known at the state level as Kids Voting in North Carolina.
She characterised the program as a complete child engagement course. Brayley said the academy has held organizational meetings and will encourage teachers to implement kids voting activities in classes kindergarten through eighth.
“Kids Voting is a method to involve children in political matters,” said Brayley. “The activities are tailored somewhat to each grade level. The ballot for our students in seventh and eighth grade will be almost completely like the actual ballot.”
She said plans for election day include setting up a model voting precinct. Students will vote and the Kids Vote N.C. organization will tabulate the results and provide a breakdown of voting results by grade.
The academy also will be staging a candidate forum on Oct. 9 at 9 a.m. at the school. Candidates will introduce themselves at the forum and then entertain questions from the floor. Candidates scheduled to participate include N.C. Senate candidate Ric Marshall as well as candidates for county commissioner John Collins, Larry R. Phillips and Paul M. Johnson. N.C. House Representative Sarah Stevens also is slated to be in the forum. It is open to the public.
The forum is a joint effort between the academy, Kids Voting NC, Kids Voting USA, the Surry County Board of Elections and Carolina West.
Brayley said the steering committee for the project at the academy met earlier this spring to begin planning the process. The committee members were Lori Spencer representing grades kindergarten through three, Sandy Cave representing fourth and fifth and Matt Elder for classes six through eight. A Patriots Pen contest has been planned for students in grades three through eight in which they will write essays about what they would tell the country’s founders.
Brayley said the school will hold a voter registration drive for students and require them to be approved just like real voters and students must show their voter registration card when they go to the polls to cast their ballot.
Brayley said many of the student projects also will be used in the academy’s Veterans Day ceremonies.
“It is our hope these activities will help students to get comfortable with the voting process,” added Braley.
She said there was a $500 fee for the Kids Vote NC group to tabulate the results which was funded by Carolina West. She also was complementary of the work done by Susan Jarrell.
“Susan has done a great deal of work on our behalf and we appreciate that,” said Brayley. “Getting kids excited about voting early will be a great thing.” She said that she already has chosen one activity from the program and given it to her students. She game them the same literacy test voters were given in Alabama in 1945. She explained that this test was intentionally designed to screen out black voters.
“My students were surprised at how difficult the test was,” said Brayley. “Judging from how well other activities similar to the Kids Voting project have been received by our students, I think they will enjoy this.”
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.