When I think of City Year’s goal of inspiring tomorrow’s leaders from today’s youth, I am reminded how important it is for them to not only know about today’s leaders, but to take an active position on how they want their state to be run. Just as it is our responsibility to vote as adult citizens, it is also our responsibility to teach our youth the importance of voting at as young of an age as possible.
The students received a lesson about democracy and why voting is so important and a vital role in our government. Then it was their turn to help Cureton elect California’s next Governor and Lieutenant Governor. After receiving information about the role and responsibilities of each position, they received information about the candidates. They used this information to vote with their own ballots which went into the Cureton Elementary ballot box.
All of the students were very enthusiastic and passionate about the voting process. They understood that the act of voting gives them a voice and the ability to pick their leaders. Many of the corps members, myself included, were surprised at the amount of prior knowledge the students already had about Election Day and about the candidates that were running. The auditorium filled with both cheers and jeers as the candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor were announced.
After each student voted, they proudly wore their “I Voted” pins that were given to them and showed their parents. In the end, the race for Governor and Lieutenant Governor at Cureton was a close one. Gavin Newsome beat out Abel Maldonado for the position of Lieutenant Governor by four votes, while Jerry Brown defeated Meg Whitman for Governor by five votes. While the actual California elections weren’t quite as close, the winners were the same!
Overall, the lesson was a huge success. It was great to see the students so enthusiastic and passionate about something as important and fundamental as the right to vote. I have no doubt that within the Cureton student body, there awaits strong leaders, ready to make a change in their community, nation, and world!
Christina Johnson, Corps Member CYSJ