VALPARAISO | Fourth-graders at Jackson Elementary School received a lesson Thursday in the election process with the help of Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson.
The students are taking part in Indiana Kids’ Election, a program that provides free resources to participating schools. The program is led by the Secretary of State’s office, the Indiana Department of Education and the Indiana Bar Association.
Resources for schools include having a guest speaker, usually a lawyer – but Lawson chose to speak to Jackson Elementary because she was in the area.
Lawson talked to the students about the election process, public officials, campaigning and voter eligibility and registration. Students were then allowed to ask questions, which ranged from how much salary she earns, whether she likes her job, how long her term is, will she run for re-election (she is) and if she had any pets.
“They asked some great questions,” Lawson said.
Lawson said she’s been speaking about the election process to young students at Indiana schools in person and via Skype.
“I think what happens is they become interested and then hopefully they’ll always remember and develop good voting habits in the future,” she said.
Jackson Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Bobbi Hall, who is instructing the students in IKE program with fellow teachers Debbie Pope and Sue Gore, said they encourage kids to gain information about not only what’s happening right now but also have them read stories and do reports about the different presidents so they learn about the process of being a public servant.
On Nov. 6, while elections are being conducted across the state the school will have a voting box where students can vote on the candidate of their choice for governor and president.
“I’m really proud of our kids because they showed their knowledge,” Hall said of Lawson’s visit. "They were excited because they knew it was a special occurrence.”
Zoe Swanson, 9, said she enjoys learning about the election. Fellow fourth-grader Matthew Streeter, 10, said his teacher provided a lot of information for them about the election process.
“We’ve been learning so much in class,” he said.