The voting booths in the school auditorium were packed during the lunchtime rush, but voters got in and out fast. With ballots turned in, "I voted" stickers in place and their democratic responsibilities complete, it was time for recess.
"I feel like I am actually voting because they are doing the actual elections," said fifth-grader Asaph Sendrey, 10.
FOR THE RECORD:
An earlier version of this story had the wrong last name for Asaph Sendrey.
Davis Magnet School's fourth-through sixth-grade students participated in their own election Tuesday as candidates ran for six student council positions. Nearly 50 students gave speeches in front of their peers and parents in the morning before students voted during recess and lunch in real voting booths donated by the Orange County registrar of voters.
Students expect to find out which candidates won during Wednesday's flag deck.
"We want to teach them about the democratic process and that it's extremely important to vote, and that every vote counts," said teacher Lisa Holman. "We tried to emulate everything they will see in real life."
During the morning speeches, candidates for each office — president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, spirit leader and reporter — had their chance to pitch themselves. All of them, that is, except for Camryn Carter, who ran for president unopposed, and therefore delivered her acceptance speech.
"This year I envision the best year for Davis yet," the sixth-grader said.
During their short speeches, made from behind a podium, each student was dressed for the occasion, boys in collared shirts and ties, to explain why they were the best for the job.
Students listed their qualifications ("I have a brain wired for math," said Jay Boyce); used catchy slogans ("I won't fudge it, I'll manage your budget," said John Casey); tried humor ("Stay classy, Davis Magnet School," said Brandon Peck); and made campaign promises.
"Davis Magnet school is already one of the best schools in Orange County," said Brendan Picquelle. "As vice president, I will do what I can to make it one of the best schools in the nation."
Secretary candidate Ellery Stephenson rapped.
"....I'm calling all Davis Ducks to take a chance on me and vote for Ellery for super-secretary," she said.
A number of candidates ran for each position — a whooping 18 students ran for reporter, for instance.
"It was kind of hard to decide — it was a little tense," said sixth-grader Timothy Shannon. Ultimately, he was able to cast his ballot. "I just decided by what speeches sounded best for the job."
For Timothy, it was important that the best people for the job were chosen, and fifth-grader Alexandria Anderson had the same feeling.
"It's important to choose who will run the school," Alexandria said. "I feel kind of special doing it because I feel like I'm making a decision for the school,"