Mirman Rocks the Vote in Mock Election

11/09/16 11:44:am
| Category: News

By the Mirman Press Corps
With reporting from Victoria P. (US2), Turandot S. (US3), and Greta Z. (US4)
And photography by Grady G. and Soraya R., Room 5

While America voted for the leaders of tomorrow, the students at Mirman School wrote a different version of history in their own mock election.

The results of the Mirman election were announced in a presentation by Lower School Math Specialist Nathan Orr and a group of Room 5 students at an all-school assembly in the Jacquelyn Michelle Ross Auditorium this morning. Hillary Clinton won each room by a landslide, although candidates from across the political spectrum were represented in the results. The students helped Mr. Orr crunch the numbers and present the results with different visuals, flexing their muscles as burgeoning statisticians. Head of School Dan Vorenberg also gave powerful remarks about the importance of respect and openness to one another's opinions.

The polls had opened in the McDaniel Library bright and early on Tuesday morning. Staffed by parent volunteers who checked registration cards and explained the voting process, the polling places had been designed collaboratively by members of the Kindergarten class as well as US3 Makers and Methods students. And though the students knew the slips of paper they placed in the ballot boxes before returning to their classes would not affect the outcome of America’s decision, they learned a valuable lesson about having a voice in the democratic process.

“I think it’s important for you to experience the privilege that we have of voting and so the sooner you do it, the sooner you can understand the importance of voting even in your local elections and how registering to vote and participating in elections allows you to have choice and voice. That’s something that not every country has,” said Arpa Ghazarian, a science teacher in both the Lower and Upper Schools.

US3 student Kendall M. agreed with Ms. Ghazarian: “If you believe you shouldn’t vote because you don’t believe it has any effect, that’s really dangerous.”

Kendall was at the polls supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton, a candidate whom she valued for her calm demeanor, good judgment, and her political ideals. Ultimately, Kendall said, the issues that mattered to her most in this election were the good treatment and equality of all people. It was important to her to vote for a candidate who had those values, and she felt Clinton did.

“Whether it’s women or minorities, I think people need to be treated the same and with respect. Regardless of how you actually feel, making rules or policies that discriminate against people is unjust and unconstitutional, and to do that simply because you’re in a position of power is wrong.”

Before the election took place, both divisions gathered in their respective meeting places to learn about the official platforms of each party. Apart from the two major political parties, students also learned about the platforms of and were also able to vote for candidates from the Green and Libertarian parties. There was also a write-in option. US2 student Emily M. supported Gary Johnson, for example, citing his belief in a smaller government. “We aren’t learning from our mistakes,” she said, citing a need for change. “We need to learn.”

As the crowds went in and out of the polls wearing their “I Voted” stickers, the overall feeling was that the process was an easy and friendly one. But the realities of a larger political climate were also at play.

“I think that peer pressure can put a mark on how people vote,” said US2 student Ava F.

Ava's fellow classmate Xavier C. admitted that he sometimes felt that pressure. Xavier said that some of his views differ from that of his classmates when it comes to certain issues. He supported Trump in the Mirman election, citing his strong leadership qualities, immigration policy, and views on gun control, and said that he was glad to have a voice. "I feel like I have the right to vote for whoever I want to, because it’s a free country. People get to see my view when I vote,” he said.

Regardless of party affiliation, students were appreciative of the chance to practice exercising a right that is central to the American election process. “It felt good to have a vote,” agreed Ashton G. from Room 3.

“We’ll be the voice of America one day,” said Madeline A. from US1. “I know it’s not like we’re getting to actually vote, but we get to try to know what it feels like to do it as an adult.”

The students weren’t the only ones feeling empowered and inspired by this important exercise. As faculty and staff gathered inside to watch the excitement, parent volunteers counted ballots and looked on proudly. The raw emotion of these moments was captured clearly by Kelly Kirkland, mother to Room 2 student Apollo P., whose voice began to break as she described the importance of voting in free and fair elections.

“And as an African-American woman, I have family members who obviously couldn’t vote for many, many years of their lives,” she said. “As African-Americans as well as women. So teaching my son at a very young age that it’s a gift, it’s a treasure. It’s not something to complain about because there are long lines. It’s something that people literally died to have the right to do, it’s so meaningful and important for him to know that he has power.”