Trump wins in landslide — in St. Francis mock election

Published 6:07 pm Saturday, November 5, 2016

Eight Donald Trumps and eight Hillary Clintons roamed the halls of St. Francis Xavier Elementary Oct. 26, giving stump speeches to drum up votes in second through sixth grade classrooms across the school.

The next day St. Francis Xavier students and faculty overwhelming elected Donald Trump its president in a 155 to 20 vote.

“A lot of people didn’t want to be Hillary, but they had so many people who wanted to be Trump that they had to hold a try out,” Will Keen, who nabbed one of the spots as a Trump, said. “There are only two people who voted for Hillary in the sixth grade that I know of.”

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The 39 sixth graders at St. Francis organized the election and divided up into teams of four and five with one person assigned to give a teacher-written speech dressed as each candidate and others speaking about the history of voting, voting qualifications and the importance of voting in each classroom.

“I just said it over and over,” Falyn Lusby said of practicing her part of her group’s presentation. “I memorized the first two paragraphs but not the last one because it was kind of hard.”

The next day the sixth graders manned the polling stations with a new group of five taking the reigns every 15 minutes or so from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Voter registration consisted of passing around a sheet in each class the day prior.

“It’s a little different than a regular election because if they were absent yesterday, they can still register to vote today,” Keen said the day of the election.

“No, no identification was required to place the marker X by Clinton’s or Trump’s name. Each name was crossed off as the person entered the polling booths, with a sixth grader handing them a ballot on the way in and another handing them a “I Voted/Kids vote too!” sticker on the way out.

“I think we all already know who’s going to win,” Gabby Andrews, who was one of the Clintons the day prior, said.

Early exit polls indicated her guess — which proved true in the end.

“I like what he stands for, and I think if he becomes president America will be great again,” fifth grader Walker Lambiotte said of his vote for Trump.

Second grader Caden Cole said he voted for Trump because “he’s nice,” second grader Marley Gibellino said she voted for him “because he’s catching up with Hillary, and he’s really sweet,” and classmate Presley Brister said she voted for Trump “because he’s really good and Hillary Clinton’s really bad,” while classmate Camden Meyer said he voted for Trump “because I am a Republican like him.”

Sixth grade teacher Sherry Garmon, who organized the mock election, said it was a first for St. Francis to her knowledge, but it is something she has done at other schools and plans to continue at St. Francis.

She noted that not every class in the school, especially the younger classes, had been learning about the election, but the sixth graders definitely had.

“We have researched the candidates to see where they stand on issues,” she said. “We kind of left the gun control and abortion out of it so we concentrated on immigration, the economy and education.

“They’re (the younger ones) just really voting how their parents are voting and these kids (the sixth graders) are doing the same thing. It’s what they hear at home,” she said.