AHS students cast ballots in mock presidential election

Nov. 8, 2017

Democracy was in action on Monday, Nov. 7, as students at Amsterdam High School participated in a school-wide mock presidential election.

Period by period, 787 students of all grades stopped by the school’s Media Center during their social studies classes to cast their votes using a Google Form.

Hillary Clinton won with 39.8 percent of the student body vote. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump garnered 30.1 percent of the votes. Gary Johnson and Jill Stein earned 9 and 6.5 percent of votes, respectively, while 115 students – or 14.6 percent – voted “other.”

“I think the election is all over the place this year,” said Robbie Spagnola, a twelfth-grade student. “I don’t think one candidate stands out over the other. I think they both have their flaws.”

This school-wide vote, coordinated by social studies department curriculum leader Stu Palczak, was the culmination of activities regarding the presidential election across all subject areas and grade levels. Palczak said the school’s social studies department worked with curriculum leaders in early fall on finding ways to incorporate the election into every classroom.

For example, students in English classes composed written responses as to who they would vote for and why; students in math classes worked on graphing polls; and students in the various science classes discussed the presidential candidates’ stances on global warming, climate change and fracking.

Students dived deeper into the American electoral system during their social studies classes, and even “registered” with a party.

“In order for students to have an educated decision on whether to register as a republican or a democrat, they’ve studied the clinical beliefs of both parties during their social studies classes,” Palczak said. “They also learned about the electoral college and the popular vote, liberal versus conservative and things of that nature.”

The school’s teaching staff say they hope the students keep what they’ve learned in mind when they become eligible voters in the future. So far, the lessons have sparked civic engagement for some, as a handful of students in advanced placement government will serve as volunteer poll workers on Election Day.

Palczak says the math classes will use the school’s election results and compare it with state and national voting data.