By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Park Elementary students get taste of campaigning and voting
new deh park school voting main pic
Park Elementary School first graders cast their votes for their favorite book and for the president of the United States Tuesday morning as school librarian Melia Boeh waits to give them a sticker. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The winners in the Park Elementary School mock election Tuesday were:
• Democratic President Barrack Obama received 158 votes and Republican challenger Mitt Romney received 52. Chuck Norris received three write-in votes.
• The top book was “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”

Sure, the ballot included Democratic President Barrack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. But, it also included a duckling, a wimpy kid and a hungry caterpillar.
Park Elementary School students in first through sixth grade cast their votes Tuesday, not only for president, but for their favorite book. As each class took its turn for reading time in the school library, the youngsters also filed into the polling station, complete with signs, secluded voting booths, American flags and red-white-and-blue bows.
As they emerged, they shoved their ballots into the ballot box and Boeh gave them a sticker, you know, to recognize them for doing their civic duty.
But, like many voters, these kids had questions. “What do I put here?” one first grader asked.
“You just have to mark an X for one on each side,” Boeh said.
The concept was a little difficult for the younger students to grasp, the librarian said, but they got the hang of it. Besides, “it kind of gets them used to the idea of voting.”
“This started at the beginning of school,” Boeh said of the campaign to nominate the books. In classic electioneering style, students took turns going on the school’s public address system in the mornings to extoll the best parts of the their book. They made campaign posters as well.
Then, “we had a little primary,” Boeh said. This winnowed the field of books to six: “Pigeon Books” from the first grade; “Fly Guy” from the second; “Magic Tree House” from the third; “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” from the fourth; “Hatchet” from the fifth; and “The Very Hungry Caterpiller” from the sixth.
This marked the first time school Boeh had held such an experiment in democracy.
Just like the rest of the nation and election officers everywhere, Boeh was exhausted by the ordeal. “If I do this again, it will be in four years,” she said.