It’s not just cable news panels and polling experts who are paying close attention to the upcoming presidential election.
Mock elections and other activities connected to election season abound in local schools.
Lake Forest Academy is taking part in a national high school mock election called the VOTES 2016 Project that involves at least two schools in each state. At Lake Forest Academy, students will vote on both the presidency and specific issues. The results of the election will be released Nov. 1.
Students in government classes will provide information on all four presidential candidates and promote those candidates with video commercials. In history, economics and other courses, students will use the election as a starting point to discuss college education funding, immigration control, the Supreme Court and other topics.
“I’m hoping this election connects with them in a real way rather than just hearing adults talk about it,” said Chris Dozois, history department chair and organizer of the mock election at Lake Forest Academy. “At their age, they are very close to being impacted by this.”
Lake Bluff Middle School will also hold a mock election. Social studies students will research and share information about the candidates’ positions on key issues during an assembly, said Principal Nate Blackmer.
On Oct. 31, 330 students can vote in the mock election.
“U.S. government is part of our curriculum, learning about the democratic process and election process and importance of voting,” Blackmer said. “Teaching kids that in addition to just picking a candidate, there should be some research and knowledge to go along with that. It’s a responsibility in addition to a right.”
At Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, students in the American Government class will read the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and Green parties’ platforms, write a written response, create their own personal party platform and design a bulletin board based on the platform of the two major parties.
The students in the American Government course will also hold a school-wide mock election on Nov. 8, said Barrie Fromm, a spokeswoman for the school.
Over at Lake Forest College, the Department of Politics is offering a course on Mass Media and American Politics and Campaigns, Elections and Political Parties this fall. The college has also brought in two retired congressmen for two days.
“They are never separated,” said Siobhan Moroney, associate professor and department chair. “They visit classes, student organizations. Because they are retired they can talk more honestly about campaigns and the way their work.”
Tom Petri, a Republican from Wisconsin, and Pete Costmayer, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, will meet with social justice student groups, an environmental science classes and business finance classes.