Junior high students take election tour

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 6, 2000

The Ironton Junior High School bulletin board reads:<!—->.

Wednesday, December 06, 2000

The Ironton Junior High School bulletin board reads:

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"The road to the White House."

Scribbled next to it in chalk are a few more words. "Still counting in Florida."

Both students and teachers had expected the bulletin board to change soon after the election, social studies teacher Paul Fugitt said.

"We may have to keep it up a little longer," he said.

The board, flanked by student-made campaign posters and informational graphics about the electoral college started in mid-presidential race as a social studies project in Fugitt’s, Nancy Wiseman’s and Chris Barnes’s classes.

The project confronted how the electoral college process affects the outcome of an election, Fugitt said.

Amount needed to win? 270 electoral votes. Crucial states? California, Florida, Ohio and others with many electoral votes. With the help of parent volunteers, the seventh- and eighth-graders even practiced filling out voter registration cards, heard from local election officials and punched ballots.

They learned it all, Fugitt said.

"We had no idea, doing this project this year, that things would turn out this way," he added, reflecting on the current presidential election saga.

The election – and the students’ studies – now has greater historical impact than the classes ever assumed, Fugitt said.

Students agreed, adding their own ideas on the election and their learning.

"I never even knew there was an electoral college," said Marcus Williams. "I don’t really like it now. I think it may change in the future."

"Your elected by representatives," Kayla Blanton said, adding it might be a little unfair though.

The goals of the classes’ project were many, including a mock voting run conducted at school and online with other junior highs, Fugitt said.

But the main point of the assignments – especially now after the counts, recounts and debates in Florida – really hit home, he said.

"They know more about it (the electoral college) that probably 99 percent of the public knows."