Students from St. Paul’s School greeted voters as they entered the Green Street Community Center in Concord to cast their ballots Tuesday, November 8. On one side were Paulies representing Democratic candidates and on the other, Republicans.
For the 24 students enrolled in the Humanities course Practical Politics, Election Day is the culmination of a term’s worth of canvassing, phone banking, and engaging in the opportunities New Hampshire provides as a coveted swing state in the 2016 presidential election. They were also joined by several students who are active in the SPS Young Democrats and Young Republicans.
“It’s really eye-opening to see how much time people put into this,” said Ruthie Covo ’18, who spent the morning making phone calls for candidates before joining other students at Green Street. “They spend their entire day going door to door, calling. It’s a lot of hard work.”
The course encourages civic engagement, and students are required to get out of the classroom and assist in local or national campaigns. Students say the race for president between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump has provided spirited debate in class. “I’ve learned more about both of the candidates,” said first-time voter and Practical Politics student Carl Kim ’17. “I think I’ve been able to make a much more informed decision.”
During the course of the 2016 election, SPS students have had the opportunity to attend the Republican debate during the New Hampshire primary, hear first lady Michelle Obama speak in person, and meet face-to-face with candidates up and down the ballot.
Covo gathered 12 students to attend Republican nominee Donald Trump’s rally in Manchester, N.H., November 7, and during the New Hampshire primary Covo took the opportunity to see Republican candidate Jeb Bush speak.
“I didn’t think about politics as something really applicable, but something abstract, until I started canvassing,” said Clio Gates ’17, who aided campaigns on behalf of the Young Democrats. “When I started talking to people on the phone and met people face-to-face, policies that were once abstract turned concrete.”