Mock election offers River Grove students civics lesson
River Grove students (from left) Mike Motyka, Derrex Woo, Jordyn Spangler and Autumn McGee talk Saturday during a River Grove Youth Government program. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 26, 2012 6:21AM
RIVER GROVE — Elementary school students are campaigning in a mock election to get a chance to sit in the big seats.
The big seats are occupied by River Grove village trustees and other officials as part of the village’s Youth Government Program. Eighth grade students at River Grove Elementary School, Rhodes Elementary School and St. Cyprian Catholic School are participating.
Recreation Department Director Michele Obaya is organizing the event. She said it’s all about educating the youth.
“We want them to understand the election process,” she said. “They have to get petitions and run a campaign at their school.”
Students will run for various posts, from mayor to school board president. Students will also campaign for other posts, such as fire chief and police chief. That’s the position Irma Tovar of River Grove Elementary wants.
“I think it (police chief) is better than all the rest,” she said.
Each school will have its own election, River Grove and Rhodes on Nov. 5 and St. Cyprian on Nov. 6. Students from sixth through eighth grades will vote.
One person will be elected mayor, while more than one student may win another seat.
Students campaigning met with village trustees, school board and administration Saturday morning for breakfast at River Grove Recreation Center. On. Nov. 7, the winners will tour the village to see daily operations and later that evening will hold a mock village board meeting.
River Grove Elementary teacher Peter Jockl, who is helping students with their campaign, said students are excited about the election. He will help candidates fill out their forms to become a candidate and assist with campaign speeches and platforms.
“Youth government is terrific,” he said. “It’s a great way to connect these kids with politics and government.”
Rhodes Elementary School teacher Jim Robinette is helping students prepare for the election.
“They get a good knowledge of how an election takes place,” he said. “The winners have a better understanding of what it takes to run a village.”