Fifth graders get a taste of citizenship in action

Marcella Dolce’s School 7 fifth graders have been studying about citizenship. What does it mean? More to the point – what does it involve? The class had been learning “how to be a citizen in your own community.”

So this week’s Election Day became the perfect walking field trip in the effort to find out just what citizenship is all about. Mrs. Dolce’s own polling place was only a few blocks from their school (School 7), and the wind off the lake felt considerably more inviting than it had for the past few days. The group set out in high spirits to see some democracy in action.

The trip was a great success. The polling officials greeted their unexpected visitors warmly, and hospitably presented the youngsters with a sample ballot, along with an explanation of how to read it. In fact, they covered the whole voting process, showing the children the individual privacy booths, how to properly complete the ballot, and finally, how to insert the ballot into the voting machine.

When it was time for Mrs. Dolce to cast her own ballot, the kids waited quietly – or at least, in as much silence as 19 fifth-graders could muster.

On the way back to school, they chattered together and compared the pictures each had drawn during their visit.

Back in school the children even got an unexpected bonus.

They were allowed to examine a map of the city’s polling places online and copy down the exact address of their own, so they could take it home to give to their parents.