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Greater Johnstown middle school holds realistic election day

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- This year's election season may have come to an end Tuesday night, but some local students headed to the polls on Wednesday. Students at Greater Johnstown Middle School were busy electing an entire congress in an election almost as realistic as the real thing.

For the second year in a row, Wes Bower took his students out of the classroom and put them to work at the polls.

"We're processing upwards of 630 voters today," said Bowser.

But it's not just his classes, all students at the school were allowed and encouraged to participate. And while it's a day after the real elections, Bowser said he tried to make the experience as realistic as possible.

"We're electing a president, vice president, treasurer and then each grade acts as political party," Bowser. "There's a sixth grade pair of senators, seventh and eighth grade and same for House of Representatives."

The process was complete with registration, old fashioned ballots and, for the past two weeks, elaborate campaigns.

"The goal is after they experience this, the buzz and excitement that goes along with an actual election, that they're excited about it when they get out of school and hopefully they keep participating," said Bowser.

Eighth-grader Emada Low was one of about a dozen students running for president.

"There's kids in like sixth and seventh grade that say they look up to me and that made me want to run for it," she said.

"They're enjoying having a say in what's going on in their student governments so hopefully that makes it easier to feel invested in the building and what we have going on here," said Bowser. "That's the ultimate goal."

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times