They didn't actually choose the next president of the United States, but students at Lincoln Elementary School in Schenectady did take part in the political process by participating in mock elections.
The students, from kinder-garteners through fifth-graders, voted in a schoolwide mock election Thursday, Oct. 30.
According to Principal Ann Comley, the election was well received by all age groups.
Comley said that it was interesting to see how the students' reactions to the event differed among grade levels. She said the younger students tended to mimic what was being said by their parents or older siblings, while the older students, particularly fifth-graders, really seemed to have their own ideas about who they thought should be the next commander in chief. Comely said the Schenectady County Board of Elections let the school borrow actual voting machines, which allowed the pint-sized voters to experience the process first-hand.
It made it seem that much more important to the students. We had teachers to assist with those who needed it, but the students really loved it, said Comley. "It was quite an experience for them."
The week before the mock voting, the school held political rallies and conventions, where fifth-grade students gave speeches to the entire student body about the candidates.
Comley said that in addition to speeches, students made banners and signs to support their choice of candidate.
Fifth-graders Nick Masucci, Abby O'Connor and Mikaylee Norris spoke on behalf of John McCain.
"I really feel like he wants to change the environment and stop the war," said Masucci.
He said that the whole experience was fun, and he thinks he might just have a knack for public speaking.
"The best part was at the end when I was done with my speech and everyone was clapping," said Masucci.
O'Connor said she loved getting up on stage and didn't feel any jitters about speaking in front of a crowd. She said she also supported McCain because she feels he is best suited to lead the country.