Gulfport students get in on the election energy - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport students get in on the election energy

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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Energy policies, the economy, health care and foreign affairs. They're just a few of the topics we've heard discussed over and over again leading up to the presidential election. Last night, the audience weighing in on these heavy topics, were some Gulfport 5th graders.

"We have built in our classroom at Bayou View Elementary 5th grade, we've built a whole Presidential unit around this one subject. Our 5th graders have participated on the other end. It's a part of our new curriculum, we've gone common core. We're using our best. Our kids to teach younger kids," Bayou Elementary Teacher Marla Corney said.

For months now, the elementary students at Bayou View have teamed up with teens from the high school, going through all the motions of a real election.

This was no everyday after school activity. Before the mock election tonight, the students held a series of debates, run campaign ads, and they even have their own PR teams. The idea was to let the students learn all their is to know about elections and how the government works.

"We want to show that you don't have to just be out of high school or out of college to be involved. I think us reaching out to 5th graders helps it get started at a younger age. I don't think without this mock election that I would be as actively involved or educated with the election tomorrow. I feel more confident in my choice," Gulfport High School Senior Nadia Elalighe said.

Hardy Thames, the Gulfport High School teacher who created the event, was very proud with the outcome. As an educator, Thames said he knew the sooner students were exposed to this environment, the better.

"We got a packed house of 5th graders and parents and high school students. It's great. They're going through the issues and I think some of the adults may be getting a more in depth take on the issues," Thames said.

This was the first time anything like this happened for Gulfport. The Teachers who helped put it on say they definitely hope to do it again. They also want to see more school get involved.

"It's something that we've never experienced before and we're just going to continue to grow and learn from these kids," Conley said.

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