PIEDMONT -- As America's voting public went to the polls Nov. 6, the students at Corpus Christi School in Piedmont took the opportunity to learn firsthand about the process behind choosing propositions and deciding who will lead the country as president for the next four years.
This year marked the fourth time Corpus Christi held mock elections. According to Principal Katie Murphy, the lessons her students learned each time are essential.
"It's a part of life," Murphy said. "I want them to learn how to study the pros and cons, and what voting really means."
The process of voting itself was formulated by the school's technology coordinator, David Malone. The hallway where the voting took place was equipped with a series of iPads set up on a table, each bordered by dividers to ensure privacy. Each device displayed a ballot made on Google Forms by Malone. Once it was their turn, students tapped their respective grade on the screen to see the propositions they could vote for. While every student voted for the president, two propositions and one local measure were selected for each grade based on what would be appropriate for their age groups.
After voting, the students received "I Voted" stickers, which were donated by Alameda County.
While the results could be seen in real time on Malone's computer, the school waited to announce the results the following morning. Student Council President Nick Desler was given the responsibility of reading the results, as well as helping to run the voting booth during the election process.
Desler said it was important for people to learn about how voting works at a young age so they would be prepared for the task in the future.
"Anyone can vote and understand how the U.S. government works," Desler said. "Everyone can have a say. This," he said, nodding toward the voting booths, "is what it will be like when they have the opportunity to vote."
Principal Murphy said that by encouraging research and spirited debate, the students could discover for themselves why it is that they take to certain political choices.
"The biggest thing for me is learning about the importance of voting," Murphy said. "Why do you want to vote for this person? What do you believe?"
The decisions each student made on the ballot did not come without preparation. Essays, posters and summaries of the politics involved lined the walls of the school. Each one was assigned to the students so they would inform themselves about the facts behind each choice they made.
Sofia De Melo, an eighth- grade student and treasurer for the student government, stated that this year's election has special importance for her and her classmates.
"We want the economy to be good before we go in to college," De Melo said. "This actually affects us."
Students smiled and laughed as they waited in line to vote. Anticipation could be felt, and students of all levels seemed to enjoy themselves.
"You can feel the excitement," Murphy said. "They were looking forward to this day. I think they're having a good time."
President Barack Obama won the presidential race at Corpus Christi, receiving 179 votes to Mitt Romney's 86. Proposition 34, which would have repealed the death penalty in California, won 54 to 39. Proposition 37, requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods, won with 89 votes to 61. Measure A1, asking for a parcel tax in Alameda County to support animal care at the Oakland Zoo, received 166 "yes" votes and 73 "no."