Blue Ridge Early College students visited a voting location on Election Day at the Glenville-Cashiers Rescue Squad to see ballots being cast and get a firsthand look at the voting process during a presidential election.
Social Studies Teacher Eleanor Young has been bringing students to vote for the past 13 years to reinforce the concepts of civic duty and responsibility.
“My hope is seeing and coming up close and personal with the precinct any confusion will be cleared up and students will feel confident and ready to vote when they turn 18,” said Young. “Generally, the invitation to go with me to vote is open to any Early College student. I want learners to walk away understanding civil conduct and decorum, campaigning practice and rules, and have a physical prop for election vocab. But mostly, I want that consciousness of civic duty to be integrated as easy to accomplish.”
Over a dozen students accompanied Young on Election Day and BREC Principal Brandon Pendergast said its encouraging to see students show interest in the election process.
“This is essential, a social studies teacher helping students understand the various protocols they have to follow in our democracy, but also understanding the decorum and solemnity of voting,” said Pendergast. “It’s amazing seeing young people take an interest in their government like this.”
Seniors Braden Collins and Collin Bryson both voted for the first time. Young said she made a promise with Collins to vote together over a year ago.
“There was definitely an acknowledgement that we may not be 100% aligned in terms of point of view, but really that was beside the point and simultaneously the exact point,” said Young. “As a teacher, it was awesome for me to have a student so jazzed about voting.”
She added that even more exceptional was Collins and his twin sister Bailee’s birthday was a week before the election, and both were sure to register so they could participate in the 2020 election.
Collins ended up voting at the Cashiers Rec Center. He said he knew he was at the wrong voting location for his precinct at GCRS, but told Young he would be there when she cast her vote in the 2020 election and made good on that promise. He added that it was “super cool to vote for the first time.”
Young said going to the correct location on Election Day is voting 101.
“Their precinct was in Cashiers [Rec Center] and I think they knew that, but they made good on the promise to go with my class. So, I was pretty honored by that,” said Young. “Honestly, that’s one of the best lessons about voting, go to the correct location.”
Young said they also covered the electoral college and what to look as election returns come in, not only in the presidential election, but in House, Senate, and local elections as well. She said she makes a “huge” effort to be as nonpartisan as possible and explain what’s at stake for each party.
“Civic duty and responsibility are a huge emphasis for me,” said Young. “I generally ground the conversation in early Greek democracy and the nature of citizenship and poplar sovereignty. I generally look at freedom house website and show students how much of the world is actually not free – and people cannot exercise freedom of choice, and I point out that if Americans become apathetic about the rights, duties and responsibilities of citizenship our democracy is compromised; the strength of nation resounds in the vote.”
Pictured at the top of the article is BREC Social Studies Teacher Eleanor Young giving studies a breakdown of the voting process at the Glenville Cashiers Rescue Squad.