MONTEBELLO – Receiving an up-close glimpse of the democratic process, over 2,500 Montebello Unified high school students cast votes in a District-wide mock presidential election, getting a chance to weigh in on the real-life issues confronting voters ahead of Election Day.
Students from Bell Gardens, Montebello, Schurr, Applied Technology Center and Vail high schools, as well as the Community Day School, went to the mock ballot boxes on Oct. 11.
“Montebello is committed to promoting civic responsibility and encouraging our students to be politically active,” MUSD Board President Benjamin Cardenas said. “The mock presidential election aligns with the District’s ideals of critical thinking, student and teacher collaboration, and effective communication.”
The mock elections, held throughout California, were sponsored by Secretary of State Alex Padilla, to spur interest in the political process by tapping into the excitement of the campaign season. Students cast votes for president, United States senator and seven state-wide ballot initiatives. The State provided schools with ballots and “I Voted” stickers.
Bell Gardens High opened their voting to all 10th- through 12th-grade students. Members of the campus Arsalyn Club – a San Gabriel Valley-based organization that promotes civic education among high school students – coordinated with History teacher and adviser Joseph Lianoz to ensure students had access to voting material.
“Very soon, our students will be full partners in the American democratic process, and it is imperative that they know how to diligently process the flood of information being disseminated by media outlets,” Lianoz said. “Making an informed choice is an inherent right for citizens, and you are never too young to know who the players are and what issues will have an impact on your lives well into the future.”
To prepare for the voting, MUSD students studied specially made student voter guides, created posters, held assemblies and conducted debates, seeking to sway their peers for support of their positions. The schools arranged for polling locations and voting booths.
“Our students had a lot of fun with the mock election,” MUSD Program Specialist Laura Quintana said. “They appreciated the chance to exercise their civic duty, weighing the pros and cons of the issues and candidates, listening respectfully to differing viewpoints and displaying great pride in wearing their ‘I Voted’ stickers. The next time they vote, it will be in an actual election and they will know exactly what to do.”
110816_MUSD_ELECTION1: Schurr High Principal Francisco Arregui (right) stands with Schurr High students as they show off their “I Voted” stickers and handmade posters during their school’s mock presidential election on Oct. 11. Montebello Unified students got a chance to weigh in on the real-life issues confronting voters ahead of Election Day.
110816_MUSD_ELECTION2: Montebello High students cast their votes during the school’s mock presidential election on Oct. 11. Montebello Unified students got a chance to weigh in on the real-life issues confronting voters ahead of Election Day.