Get out the vote
Guerin Prep senior Kevin Doyle, 18, registers to vote Friday at a station set up by other students at Guerin College Prep High School. | Michael Jarecki ~ for Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 12, 2012 10:49AM
With the presidential election less than a month away, students at Guerin College Prep High School are working to ensure fellow students and residents get to participate in it.
On Friday, a voter registration was held in the high school’s lobby. But the students running the show took what they have learned in government classes to the next level, as several have become deputy voter registrars and election judges.
Natalie Lezama, 18, said she’s wanted to vote since she was 6, and is excited about voting for the first time in November’s presidential election.
“I’m definitely leaning toward Obama,” she said.
But along with becoming a registered voter, allowed at age 18, she also decided to become a deputy voter registrar. On Oct. 5 she helped students who were 18 years old, or will turn 18 this month, as well as others register to vote. The last day to register for the presidential election was Tuesday.
John Driver, 45, of Chicago saw the signs outside the school that students had put out along Belmont Avenue highlighting the voter registration drive and decided to stop in.
“I’ve been here for three years, but I’m registered at my old place,” he said.
Kevin Schrop, who teaches government at the school, said he and others thought holding the registration drive would give students hands-on experience about what they discuss in class. Since they’ve started, he said, his students have been totally involved.
“You hear that sometimes students are apathetic, but for the most part I have not seen it,” he said.
The school plans on having its own mock presidential debate next month with two students, one playing the role of President Barack Obama and the other playing the role of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Students will have to go through a mock voter registration process in order to vote for their choice in a mock election.
Ryan Kurtz, 17, who sat Friday with Lezama helping to register voters, served as an election judge. He received training through the Cook County Clerk’s Office and was surprised at the student turnout to register.
“It’s been pretty good so far,” he said. “I didn’t expect that many students would show up.”
Kevin Doyle, 18, and a senior at the school, was going to wait until study hall to register, but teachers and others motivated him to do it earlier. He said it feels great to be able to vote.
“I’m going to vote for Obama,” he said. “He’s a Democrat and I’m there for the party.”
Gianni Aiello, who becomes 18 this month and is a senior at the high school, didn’t know who he was going to vote for, but said it felt good to have the opportunity to do so now that he’s registered to vote.
“It feels good to have some power now,” he said. ~.