Fifth-graders at Deerfield School understand the challenges of running for public office and the difficulties you encounter once you get there.
That's because each of Jan Willey's social studies classes recently held elections for their own president and vice president. They chose congressional representatives as well.
Willey said she held the exercise in conjunction with Kids Voting, a program in which students grades kindergarten through 12 will go to the polls Nov. 3. Although the votes of students under the age of 18 won't count in the official totals, the votes will be tabulated. The Journal-World is the local sponsor of the program, which is also taking place in five other Kansas communities.
TEACHERS SOON will present a special curriculum to students to prepare them for the election, but Willey has given her class a head start with the classroom elections.
In one of Willey's classes, Paul Epp was elected president, and Rachael Moore was elected vice president. Paul, who ran against five contenders, said he used posters and speeches to get his message out.
"We will work together with Mrs. Willey to have fewer assignments right before tests so that we can have more time to study for the exams," Paul said in his campaign speech, which Rachael helped him write.
Although Paul and Rachael won the election, the president didn't win a popularity contest with Congress.
Class Sen. Lindsay Shields, who represents the "state" of Komaep, said that for starters, it was difficult for Congress to agree on six rules for the class.
"We came across some trouble spots. It was hard to work with other people. Everybody was telling their ideas all at once," Lindsay said. The class consists of six states of three to four students each.
TO MAKE matters worse, the president made changes to the rules Congress had worked so hard to develop.
"He changed the rules a little bit, but not too much," Lindsay conceded.
For example, one rule originally said that students who rudely slam their books down on their desk when arriving to class would be required to practice putting their book down gently 20 times. The rule was changed to say the student must enter the classroom again and place the book down gently.
Class Sen. Kristy Jones, who represents the "state" of En Vogue, said that even though agreeing on the rules wasn't simple, she thinks democracy is the best form of government.
"Everybody in the Congress had a say on what they wanted," Kristy said.