In the four school days leading up to Election Day, students at Kyrene Centennial Middle School took to the “polls” to cast their votes.

Through the Arizona branch of the Kids Voting organization, teachers and staff were able to create voter identification numbers for students and fill out ballots. After the election Tuesday night, the students’ voting results will be available to compare and contrast to adult votes, and look at electoral college maps.

“We really wanted it to be as authentic as possible,” said Laurie Jake, a sixth-grade social studies teacher.

Jake worked with media specialist Jacque Moorefield to coordinate and organize the student voting. Beginning on Thursday, a few classes would line up outside of Centennial’s library, “check in” with their own voter ID cards, and wait in line to vote on computers set up like realistic “booths.”

“The students made the booths, painted and decorated windows, and also hung up signs to vote,” Moorefield said. “They really participated.”

One seventh-grade class entered the library on Thursday, where they voted for President, Congress, Senate, and even Legislative District 18 candidates.

“It’s cool to know we’re going to do this in the future,” said Katie Lunn, 12.

In preparation, the students discussed current events, watched the televised presidential debates and learned about the voting process.

Horizon Community Learning Center in Ahwatukee is also preparing to host a voting event on Tuesday. Like Centennial, almost every school in the Kyrene School District will be “voting.”

Just as her students were finishing up in the library Thursday, Jake mentioned her desire to see students become informed voters, learning to have discernment.

“The biggest goal is that we get them interested in voting, and hopefully they will vote in the future,” Jake said.

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