Romney wins Hinsdale (Middle School)
Eighth-graders gather around the table in the school cafeteria where they voted Monday for U.S. president in a mock election at Hinsdale Middle School. | Kimberly Fornek—Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 7, 2012 6:09PM
HINSDALE — The presidential campaigns ended a day early at Hinsdale Middle School and the winner is Republican Mitt Romney.
The student body had its own early election Monday, dropping brightly colored paper ballots in a cardboard box.
The social studies department organized the event, but all the students got a vote, said U.S. history teacher Richard Dusek.
The classes were divided into states, and the votes were sorted and weighted according to the electoral college system. Romney won both the popular and electoral vote. In unofficial results, the electoral count was 49-10 in favor of Romney, Dusek said.
His and teacher Jane Fetty’s eighth-grade classes have been studying politics and the election every Friday since September.
The students researched President Barack Obama’s and Romney’s positions on their websites and watched news reports and the presidential debates for homework.
The students decided whom they wanted to support and then prepared campaign posters and material for that candidate.
They also took a test from the Pew Research Center that asked their opinion on health care, the national debt, the economy and social issues. Based on their responses, the students were ranked from very conservative to very liberal or independent.
“Some of the kids were surprised by their ranking,” Dusek said.
A few students who were questioned after voting Monday, however, sounded quite sure of their choices.
Jack Beaudin, 13, said he voted for Romney because, “I believe he is going to help our nation out of debt.” Jack said he formed his opinions based on research he did in class and on discussions he has heard at home and from “everybody.”
Miranda Mocklow, 14, of Hinsdale, said her choice was not swayed by class discussions or her parents’ opinion.
She voted for Obama because, “I believe in gay rights.”
Tommy Kavanagh, 13, said Romney got his vote, because “I don’t think we can handle four more years of Obama. Romney will lower the debt and create more jobs.”
Tommy said studying the presidential campaigns in school did not heighten his interest in the election.
“I always follow the election,” Tommy said.~.