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Rainbow voters, politicians hold mock election

District 7 Councilwoman Ronica Ondocsin coaches fifth-grader Eva Candia, candidate for "The Girl" party, before the mock election at Rainbow Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)
District 7 Councilwoman Ronica Ondocsin coaches fifth-grader Eva Candia, candidate for “The Girl” party, before the mock election at Rainbow Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Mirroring Democratic and Republican candidates, Rainbow Elementary School fifth-graders trudged the campaign trail to stage a mock election on Oct. 20.

Rainbow’s Enrichment Team has coordinated elections for four years, enrichment team member Emily Peck said. Madison Mayor Troy Trulock and District 7 Councilwoman Ronica Ondocsin coached candidates and their parties.

Fifth-graders chose a candidate to run for their two political affiliations, “The Boy” and “The Girl” parties. “The Boy” candidate Collin Bruyns made campaign promises and used his slogan, “Colin, Colin, he’s our man. If he can’t do it, nobody can.”

“The Girl” party nominee Eva Candia promised better pizza in the cafeteria and more homeroom time. “I’ll talk with our principal to see if we can get out of school early and get more recess time,” Candia said.

Peck and other enrichment volunteers handed ballots to those students who wanted to vote. “We make that clear that voting is a choice and an important right we have. Interestingly, not every student chose to vote,” Peck said.

“Even so, we had a higher voter turnout with our fifth-graders than (Americans) had in the 2012 presidential election. It’s estimated about 58 percent of American voters went to the polls in the 2012 presidential election. It was probably 90 percent among our fifth-graders,” Peck said.

Both Trulock and Ondocsin “emphasized the importance of appealing to the entire class and not necessarily their party members,” Peck said. Apparently, that strategy was successful. “Collin won the election, even though there are fewer boys in fifth grade than girls.”

Trulock reminded students that every vote counts. Ondoscin stressed the importance of voting and referred to the light voter turnout in the last local election.

The mock election is one of numerous activities that Rainbow’s Enrichment Team plans for monthly programs for each grade. For example, third-graders learned from Sam Pugh with Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Burritt Museum volunteers discussed life before electricity and batteries. During these programs, teachers have collaborative meetings.

In November, sixth-graders will learn about government’s three branches with State Representative Mac McCutcheon.

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